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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscars 2011: Red Carpet Videos: Inception's Pfister, Zimmer, Network's Sorkin, Brand & More

Best Cinematography Winner: Wally Pfister, Inception
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 1, 2011 10:43 AM
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Rango Early Reviews: "One Spectacular-Looking Movie," "Chaotic," "Wildly Imaginative" (UPDATED)

Rango is a gorgeous CGI animated homage to the Hollywood western from Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski, ILM, screenwriter John Logan and a great voice cast led by Johnny Depp. The VFX masters at ILM put their genius to work on a piece of CGI animation (blessedly not in 3-D) , and the results are wondrous, from the character animation to the action sequences. But while Logan is an Oscar-nominated studio scribe (The Aviator) who knows his westerns, this is not a Pixar film. On the one hand the pacing lags, and on the other, they don't seem to have a handle on how to make it play for both adults and kids. (Younger viewers in the theater were bored.) But for any student of animation or western buff, Rango is a must-see.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 1, 2011 9:27 AM
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Oscars 2011: Winners Talk: Portman & Firth, Bale & Leo, Sorkin & Seidler, Inception, TSN (UPDATED)

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 28, 2011 2:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Watch: Hereafter VFX Breakdown

Oscar Watch: Hereafter VFX Breakdown
Scanline VFX (300, 2012) and VFX supervisor Michael Owens lavished so much time and energy on the nine-minute tsunami at the start of Clint Eastwood's Hereafter that the movie won the Visual Effects Society (VES) award for outstanding supporting visual effects in a feature motion picture as well as a hotly contested spot in the final VFX Oscar five.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 16, 2011 12:58 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Oscar Video: Inception ASC-winner Pfister Talks Working with Nolan in 35 mm, Tech Panel Q & A

In a surprise win, American director of photography Wally Pfister, who has been working with Chris Nolan for twelve years, ever since Memento, collected his first American Society of Cinematographers' award for Inception Sunday. He beat out Oscar favorite Roger Deakins, who collected the BAFTA for True Grit on Sunday. Check out my flip cam interview with Pfister (below), who talks about working with Nolan; Pfister has received Oscar nominations for Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight and now, Inception, one of eight noms for the film.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 14, 2011 9:19 AM
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Oscar Watch: Tim Burton and VFX Master Ken Ralston Talk Alice in Wonderland

Oscar Watch: Tim Burton and VFX Master Ken Ralston Talk Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland presented a high degree of difficulty for veteran VFX master Ken Ralston and director Tim Burton, who tends to prefer live action FX to digital ones. He clearly wrestled with the huge volume of CG effects—the film used far more green screen than he’s ever dealt with. “It starts freaking you out after a while,” he said at Comic-Con, admitting that Alice in Wonderland was “the most difficult” movie he’s ever done. Burton insisted on avoiding motion-capture as much as possible (the effects team did mo-cap some actors, for reference). Burton wound up favoring “pure animation and using actors in mysterious ways,” he said.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 11, 2011 9:29 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Talk: Possible King's Speech Sweep, Santa Barbara Fest, Potential Upsets

In this week's Oscar Talk, Kris Tapley and I debate a King's Speech Oscar sweep, possible Oscar upsets and share what we learned in Santa Barbara at various tributes and panels.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 5, 2011 12:42 AM
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Oscar Watch: Inception Sweeps Visual Effects Awards with Four Wins, Dragon Beats Toy Story 3

It's no surprise that Chris Nolan's Inception swept the 9th Visual Effects Society Awards with four wins including Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture. The epic visual extravaganza is also expected to score the VFX and other technical awards on Oscar night February 27.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 2, 2011 3:39 AM
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Behind the Visual Effects on Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan is one of those movies that is creepy, scary, believable and psychologically taut partly because he deploys 250 visual effects shots to such good effect. They aren't obvious, or on a big-budget scale. While we probably figured out that Nina morphing into a Black Swan at the film's finale is a visual effect (the most complex in the film), most of the film's effects are far more subtle.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 19, 2011 9:05 AM
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Oscar Watch: VFX Short List of Seven Includes Alice in Wonderland, Inception, Scott Pilgrim

Seven films will vie in the Visual Effects bakeoff on January 20 for an Oscar nomination, when members of the VFX branch will see 15-minute reels of each film and then vote for the final five to be announced January 25. The list is what was expected.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 6, 2011 2:42 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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