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June 07, 2006

Worth a Mention - June 7, 2006

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES CG Film Announced

(cinescape.com) Imagi and Warner Brothers Pictures have announced a new computer animated TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES film. Warner Brothers, who is handling domestic distribution, will release the film on March 30, 2007.

Studio and TWC said the new PG-rated film will be slightly grittier than the three live-action "Turtles" movies released by New Line more than a decade ago. Combined, those three pics grossed more than $256

million at the U.S. box office.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles represents a brand that is widely recognized all around the world, and we think this new CG version will be a huge hit among audiences everywhere," said TWC co-chair Harvey Weinstein, who made the announcement with Warner Bros. Pictures prexy of distribution Dan Fellman.

Casting Notice for James Cameron's 880

(Movie City News) Movie City News has posted a new casting notice for James Cameron's Project 880, which starts filming in November. The plot for the 20th Century Fox feature is described as follows:

In the future, Jake, a paraplegic war veteran is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture.

Send in your head shot: http://www.moviecitynews.com/Notepad/2006/060606_npd.html

Alien Vs Predator 2 Set To Sign Directors

(cinescape.com) IGN FilmForce posted a bit of an odd scoop today regarding AVP 2 and a possible director for the film.

The scoop suggests that Greg and Colin Strause are set to sign on to direct the sequel to 2004's Alien vs. Predator. Apparently they have met with the producers and are all set to sign on.

For more details on the scoop you can go here for the story.

AVP2 is aiming for a August 2007 release.

ILM Syncs Up Artists With Production Staff

(vfxworld.com) Iridas announced that Industrial Light & Magic has purchased universal site licenses of FrameCycler Professional 3.5 for its facility in the Letterman Center in San Francisco, Lucasfilm Animation in Singapore and the Skywalker Ranch in San Rafael. Now artists at all three locations will have immediate access to uncompressed frame-based playback for review and analysis of their work on every workstation.

FrameCycler Professional 3.5 uses advanced RAM-buffering for playback, reads and writes virtually all file formats in the industry, and offers powerful playback and image analysis tools for animators, compositors and other artists. FrameCycler Professional also allows users to apply LUTs in combination with Iridas.Look files for calibrated and/or color graded playback. FrameCycler Professional is the only uncompressed playback application to run on the Windows, Mac and Linux platforms.

"We chose FrameCycler because it's reliable, works across all of our platforms and has a proven track record in the industry," stated Lucasfilm cto Cliff Plumer. "Having a common viewing tool for both digital artists and our production staff greatly improves communication which benefits the entire production process."

"Industrial Light & Magic pioneered modern visual effects," said Lin Kayser, Iridas ceo. "We've been enjoying their work in theaters for years now. It's an honor to be working with them."

Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) is a Lucasfilm Ltd. company serving the digital needs of the entertainment industry for visual effects. ILM has been awarded 14 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and received 17 Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards.

Hellboy 2 Moves to Paramount

(FMagazine) Apparently Hellboy helmer, Guillermo del Toro, revealed at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors that the sequel has moved from Columbia Pictures over to Paramount Pictures.

The magazine reports the following:

"We're moving studios right now," says Del Toro. "They don't have a deal with Sony anymore and we are looking for financing for Hellboy 2. It's at Paramount right now. It's bigger in scale, but not necessarily in budget. Abe Sapien has a much bigger part, and we're keeping closer to the mythology of the comics." Del Toro giggled with glee as he revealed a singer whose music would be part of the film. "There is a song by Barry Manilow, and you'll have to find out about how that fits in. I know you are all saying 'what the fuck is that?!'"

Personally I thought Hellboy had its flaws, but overall it was a fun movie and I would love to see a sequel. I hope it moves forward.

ILM's Todd Vaziri Talks Mission: Impossible III VFX

(ilmfan.com) Todd Vaziri is of course well known around VFX circles since he started the amazing VFXHQ website, the benchmark of VFX websites. His career has spanned Flat Earth Productions, on the Xena: Warrior Princess TV show, Banned From The Ranch, on such projects as Inspector Gadget, Hollow Man and Doctor Dolittle, and Pixel Magic on projects like Driven and Hart's War. He joined ILM to work on Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones and has since served as digital and compositing artist on such projects as Hulk, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Van Helsing, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, War of the Worlds and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

He completed work as Sequence Supervisor of J.J. Abrams' Mission: Impossible III which was supervised by Roger Guyett. He recently took some time to discuss some of the secrets and extensive "invisible effects" in the film.

More: http://www.ilmfan.com/articles/2006/todd_vaziri_mission_impossible_3/

No Australia Shoot For INDIANA JONES 4?

(cinescape.com) Scoop from a reader regarding Steven Spielberg and the potential shooting of INDIANA JONES 4. Take it for what it is:

Assume this is of interest. I'm from Burleigh Heads in Queensland, Australia. You may remember a while back about a rumour that Steven Spielberg was filming "Indiana Jones 4" down here? well, as of today, you can squash it. It's not true.

I just started an internship at Warner Studios (the production side / not the theme park side), and someone told me about that - the rumours - today. Apparently, Spielberg was here doing something for a mini-series or biography channel special, the guys im working for told me. That's it. No "Indy", I'm sorry to say. He had been in at Warner Studios checking those out at one stage too - but not once was anything about "Indy 4" mentioned. It's third-hand talk, but enough to squash the rumour I reckon.

As for what's going on here : A new film from Paul Merurio called "Reality Check" has wrapped, a while back actually, (we saw some of it), Vinnie Jones and Nathan Jones are doing a new movie called "The Condemned", a thing called "Vodoo Lagoon" I've seen mentioned a few places, there's several new kids shows in the works (mostly animated), and John Cena's doing "Demolition Man 2" next.

Report: Harryhausen Tribute in LA

(kongisking.net) Film effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen (JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD) was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in Character Creation at Universal Studios at a special screening of THE SCI-FI BOYS. At the event, Ray Harryhausen and other attendees gathered to send their special greetings to Peter Jackson in New Zealand. Peter Jackson is the "host" of THE SCI-FI BOYS (DVD from Universal), which, with Dennis Muren, Leonard Maltin and Rick Baker, takes us through the history of special effects.

In addition to Harryhausen, those sending greetings to Peter Jackson included director John Landis (ANIMAL HOUSE, BLUES BROTHERS, AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON), Anne Robinson (star of the 1953 WAR OF THE WORLDS George Pal film), Bob Burns (who appears in PJ's KONG and owns the original 1933 KONG armature) and SCI-FI BOYS music composer Brian Lambert, who declares PJ to be the "King of the Spirit of Fun!." You can now see streaming video of their greetings, plus the presentation of a Lon Chaney statuette to Harryhausen at THE SCI-FI BOYS website. At the site, you'll also see video of Peter Jackson's message about THE SCI-FI BOYS, and a historic 20 minute panel discussion between Forrest J Ackerman (editor of FAMOUS MONSTERS), Rick Baker, Steve Johnson (creature creator of ROSWELL alien) and Basil Gogos, who painted almost all the early covers of FAMOUS MONSTERS magazine.

The Video: http://www.pauldavids.com/sci_ficomp.html

Ellen Pasternack Talks Festival of VFX

(fangoria.com) Fango got the exclusive lowdown from publicist Ellen Pasternack on the 8th Annual Festival of Visual Effects, to be held July 6-8 at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre (6712 Hollywood Boulevard). The three-day Visual Effects Society extravaganza, set to feature workshops and discussions led by some of the industry’s leading artists (including Academy Award winners Dennis Muren, John Myhre and Robert Skotak), will focus on “cutting-edge technological advances, historical achievements, strategic planning and forecasting for the future of visual effects in film, television, and animation.” Festival plans also include the transformation of the Egyptian’s famed courtyard into a “Festival Courtyard,” which will host VFX and entertainment-industry vendors, special displays, raffles and a Hospitality Tent.

“We’re thrilled to be at the Egyptian with this year’s festival,” Pasternack says. “It’s a great theatre for the panelists, and the courtyard area provides a perfect place to hold the event for vendors who’ve previously wanted to participate as more than just sponsors. We’re really excited about it.”

In addition to the previously mentioned talent, LORD OF THE RINGS visual FX consultant Mark Stetson, as well as an estimated 50 other “internationally acclaimed entertainment veterans,” will be in attendance to enlighten the predicted 3,000 festival attendees. Panels will include “Virtual Vs. Real Sets,” (hosted by production designers Myhre, Jeannine Oppewall et al.), “Creating Life One Frame at a Time: The Art of VFX Animation,” (hosted by Steve Chiodo, Randy Cook and ILM’s senior visual FX supervisor Muren) and the John Bruno, John Jardin, Ian Hunert and Kurt William-hosted “The Challenges of Creating X-MEN: THE LAST STAND,” among others.

“A Look Back At ALIENS—20 Years Later,” a retrospective of the 1986 horror/sci-fi classic (pictured), should prove to be another highlight of the fest, with panelists set to include creature fabricator Alec Gillis, VFX miniature supervisor Pat McClung, VFX co-supervisor and director of photography Dennis Skotak and VFX supervisor and longtime James Cameron collaborator Robert Skotak. The aforementioned Stetson and his visual FX team will appear as well, hosting the panel “Bringing a Super Hero Back to Life,” in which they will discuss the methods they used in resurrecting the Man of Steel for this summer’s highly anticipated feature SUPERMAN RETURNS.

Finally, festival pass and invitation holders will have the chance to catch a special advance screening of the ImageMovers/Amblin Ent./Sony Pictures Imageworks film MONSTER HOUSE. Opening theatrically July 21, the computer-animated, PG-rated film (created using the same performance-capture techniques utilized in last year’s POLAR EXPRESS) follows the plight of three children who band together to combat the titular mysterious and monstrous abode which threatens their community.

Strike One For Pixar?

(film.guardian.co.uk) After a honeymoon period lasting nearly 20 years Pixar Animation Studios appear to have hit a rocky patch with Cars, their latest cartoon spectacular. Tipped as one of the year's biggest hits, the film opens in the US this Friday and in the UK on July 28. But early reviews are not encouraging.

Directed by John Lasseter, Cars tells the story of a rookie sports car (voiced by Owen Wilson) who becomes stranded in the homespun township of Radiator Springs, off Route 66. Expectations for the film are high following the success of The Incredibles and Finding Nemo, but critics appear to agree that Cars is not in that class.

"With Cars, Pixar's enviable run of creative triumphs comes to a skidding stop," said Variety. The film, it added is "a dusty near-two-hour ride" and "the action keeps running out of gas." For good measure, the magazine went on to argue, "Lasseter discovers that there are only so many car puns he and five other credited writers can exhaust."

The Village Voice agreed that the film has a "turgid pace, with all the traction of a boxcar going uphill in molasses." The film was "a disappointment, following the grown-up comic-book that was The Incredibles."

Many reviewers also felt that Cars' plot was too indebted to the 1991 Michael J Fox comedy Doc Hollywood, in which a hotshot Los Angeles doctor learns a new set of values when he is stranded in an average American town. "It just rips off Doc Hollywood, almost note for note," said Christy Lemire of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Hollywood Reporter was kinder to the film. "It might not be up there in The Incredibles/Finding Nemo/Toy Story stratosphere," it admitted. "But the charming Cars is nevertheless a thoroughly pleasing way to mark Pixar Animation Studios' 20th anniversary.

-H

Posted by dschnee at June 7, 2006 09:19 AM

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