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Thompson on Hollywood

Comic-Con Immersed in Movies Exclusive: Director Jose Padilha Talks Politicizing 'RoboCop' Remake (VIDEO)

For acclaimed Brazilian director Jose Padilha ("Elite Squad," "Bus 174"), remaking "RoboCop" (February 7, 2014) is the perfect storm of politics and robotics. We chatted at Comic-Con about re-imagining the Paul Verhoeven cyborg classic from '87, which recasts Joel Kinnaman ("The Killing") as Alex Murphy, the Detroit cop gunned down and transformed into the half-man/half-machine Frankenstein. The timely actioner co-stars Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, and Abbie Cornish.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 20, 2013 7:23 PM
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Comic-Con Immersed in Movies Exclusive: Marc Webb Slings 'Amazing Spider-Man 2'

I grabbed "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" director Marc Webb for a Comic-Con chat --he'll meet the fans at Friday's panel in Hall H at 5:30 pm. For him, the follow-up was not only about continuing the rite of passage of Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker, but also learning more about the vernacular of tentpole movies. After all, Webb's only prior feature experience was helming "(500) Days of Summer," so he's still facing a steep learning curve in handling the demands of the superhero genre.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 19, 2013 6:00 AM
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Immersed in Movies: James Wan and Vera Farmiga Talk '70s-Set Paranormal Frightener 'The Conjuring'; Sequel in Works (VIDEO)

"The Conjuring" proves that you don't have to indulge in torture porn to be scary. In fact, the well-crafted throwback is a family drama driven by horror. It's a true life story from 1971 about a family tormented by spirits in its secluded Rhode Island farmhouse, and how renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) came to their rescue.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 16, 2013 1:59 PM
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Immersed in Movies Comic-Con EXCLUSIVE: Director James Mangold Previews 'The Wolverine'

On the eve of "The Wolverine" Comic-Con presentation this week in San Diego, James Mangold discussed what it was like tackling the most popular X-Men superhero. After all, what was the acclaimed director of "Walk the Line, "3:10 to Yuma," "Girl Interrupted," and "Cop Land" doing messing around with an expensive franchise?
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 15, 2013 12:26 PM
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Immersed in Movies: ILM Rearms for 'Pacific Rim' VFX (FEATURETTE)

If there's a mid-year front-runner for the VFX Oscar, it's definitely Industrial Light & Magic's exceptional work on Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim," which is more than just rock 'em sock 'em robots vs. monsters. Aside from the masterfully animated Jaegers and Kaiju, there's also the complex lighting, atmospherics, and water simulation, which take CG mise en scene to a new level of sophistication.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 12, 2013 2:57 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Guillermo del Toro Talks 'Pacific Rim' Robot Porn (VIDEO)

Guillermo del Toro calls it "robot porn." The Mexican filmmaker was at his geekiest last week at Industrial Light & Magic in San Francisco, dissecting a fierce fight at sea in "Pacific Rim" between his enormous robot Jaegers and Kaiju alien monsters. It was like watching his version of "Raging Bull," as he explained how he staged the fight choreography while getting the right height, weight, speed, and volume in CG. But he was just as effusive about the aesthetics of alternating between gritty and surreal.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 5, 2013 1:29 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Pulling Off a New VFX Twist for 'White House Down'

Uncharted Territory, which has become a model of efficiency and innovation during these precarious times for the VFX industry, came up with a new concept for handling Roland Emmerich's "White House Down": management and quality control rather than creating the bulk of the effects in-house.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • June 28, 2013 1:01 PM
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Immersed in Movies: How VFX Supervisor Farrar Fixed the Zombies in 'World War Z' (CLIP)

So much for decrying the "fix it post" mentality that plagues so many big budget movies. It evidently saved the trouble-plagued, $200 million-plus zombie thriller, "World War Z." After production snafus, cost-overruns, and a significant reshoot to streamline the third act, VFX supervisor Scott Farrar ("The Transformers" franchise) was loaned out from Industrial Light & Magic to salvage the zombies.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • June 21, 2013 2:22 PM
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  • 1 Comment

For Nolan's 'Interstellar,' Casey Affleck Joins McConaughey, Hathaway, Chastain and Caine UPDATED

UPDATE: Casey Affleck is the latest to sign on to Christopher's Nolan's time-traveling "Interstellar," which currently has Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain and Bill Irwin lined up. Affleck has been on a roll lately, with David Lowery's Western "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" (August 16) and Scott Cooper's "Out of the Furnace," which Relativity is giving a confident Oscar push this coming awards season. "Interstellar" is set for a November 7, 2014 release.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • June 21, 2013 11:36 AM
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Immersed in Movies: Snyder, Cavill and More Talk Unapologetic 'Man of Steel,' a Father's Day Superman Gift

I couldn't help thinking about my late father when watching "Man of Steel." He adored Superman and I still remember asking him as a child what the difference was between Batman and Superman. He said Batman was about darkness and Superman was about light -- a perfect complement. In later years, though, he bemoaned the prevailing cynicism and nihilism that led to Superman going out of fashion.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • June 14, 2013 2:41 PM
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