Based on Stieg Larsson's international bestseller, this film makes this the second time this story has been brought to the screen. The original Swedish version is very fresh in my mind, having made my top 25 list last year, ranking fourth, just behind David Fincher's THE SOCIAL NETWORK. Now we have Fincher's version of the same tale in English.
Article Type: Review
Have you ever wondered how Santa delivers millions of presents in a single night? The 3D animation film Arthur Christmas (Aardman production for Sony Pictures Animation) reveals exactly how things work in Santa’s mysterious Arctic Headquarters.
Have you ever wondered what the life of a young journalist is like? Of course, you could probably hear my story, but my career as a journalist is far less dangerous, mysterious, and exciting than that of Tintin, a boy reporter with spiky orange hair in the movie “The Adventures of Tintin” directed by Steven Spielberg.
Steven Spielberg has made a rousing globetrotting adventure that harkens back to his early INDIANA JONES films. Using performance capture, he brought to life Herge's world-renowned comic strip character in a strangely realistic and surreal way. The lightning paced action scenes will be well accepted from the videogamer set, while older audiences might want it to have slowed down a bit to let us meet these characters.
If you’re from South East Asia, China, Japan or Korea, Singapore’s modern architectural skylines may not wow you as much as a Westerner. And I imagine, if you are from the region, the proliferation and impact of Asia’s animation production isn’t news to you either. After all, Asia’s “animation moon” has been full and shining brightly for many years, decades even for some countries.
For a continuing franchise it's so often the quality of the villain that makes the series longevity. The hero never changes, or we think that is the case. It's a good villain that pushes the protagonist to the edge. This is the case with the introduction of Professor James Moriarty into Guy Ritchie's steam punk version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's great detective.
Roman Polanski adapts Yasmina Reza's dark comedy play for the screen. For better and worse, Polanski, who co-wrote the script with Reza, doesn't adapt the film very much. Outside of a dialogue free opening and closing in a park, the rest of this dialogue-heavy production takes place in one New York apartment. Primarily his top notched cast keeps the film from crumbling under its weaknesses.
If you wish further evidence of your own lack of smartness, sit through a SIGGRAPH technical paper Fast Forward presentation. This was not your typical gathering of wily-old geezer scientists in smocks and meerschaum pipes, ruefully rubbing their beards while thoughtfully using 10 sentences to explain things where one sentence would completely suffice.
Those damn, dirty apes look quite amazing in this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 Blu-ray. This is certainly one of the best Blu-ray releases of the year. The picture quality is crystal clear adding great depth and detail. Weta's CG apes really stand out from fur to skin textures to their realistic looking eyes. The color palette is natural and clean with black levels inky throughout. There is a light film grain that runs through the picture, which does not increase during night scenes. Crush in those night scenes is also nonexistent. As for compression issues and other digital artifacts, they are completely absent.
What I love about so many Chinese historical epics is how they blend history and myth. Now famed director Hark Tsui, who created the ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA series, brings the real life story of Chinese historical icons Detective Dee and Empress Wu to the screen in a big budget, vfx-driven spectacle that includes spontaneous human combustion, high flying kung fu and a talking deer.
This transfer of Hark Tsui's epic fantasy is gorgeous. The MPEG-4 AVC Blu-ray has colors so rich that they actually took me aback, especially in the film's elaborate vfx sequences. Because of the detailed clarity, some of the wide matte-painted backgrounds look strikingly realistic. It shows off the impressive quality of Korean vfx firm AZ Works and their partners' work. The rich golds and reds of lavish costuming pop and the detail even reveals threads. When the film descends into the underground Phantom City, the contrast of shadow is represented nicely without any noticeable crush. Grain is practically nonexistent in daylight scenes, but does creep up in lower lit sequences. Digital anomalies like banding, aliasing or pixelization were not evident to me.
18 hours in planes, 8 hours in airports, 2 hours in shuttles, all in the quest for a chance to meet some of Asia’s brightest computer graphic technologists and to once again eat roast pork overlooking the majestic Hong Kong harbor. A worthy goal, I must say.
Director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody last collaborated on the Oscar nominated JUNO. Cody won the Oscar for her screenplay, her first produced script. Some thought she was a one hit wonder following her entertaining, but not all that original, horror flick JENNIFER’S BODY. YOUNG ADULT proves them wrong.
Tomas Alfredson, who directed the wonderful Swedish vampire film LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, adapts John le Carre's classic spy novel into a slow burn thriller. His film is as laconic as his central character, played with great reserve by Gary Oldman. From its Cold War setting to its visual style, the film at times conjures up memories of Hitchcock's latter day thrillers.
In Ukrainian, KROK means “step”, but to animators, KROK means watching animation, making music, dancing and meeting friends, both old and new. For me KROK is summer camp for animators and the best ten days of my life every year.
CTNX is for the young and hungry, boasting a crowd of current students and the recently graduated, who are looking at an angle into their beloved, but notoriously tough, contemporary animation industry. There’s no doubt the event will keep on drawing in professionals, studios, and students, but it remains to be seen whether it can live up to high expectations. Seeing young talent engage with their idols, and feeling their way into a field they are clearly passionate about, is where CTN truly shines.
Michel Hazanavicius' effortlessly charming dramedy is really like discovering a lost film from the silent age. The director of the popular French OSS 117 spy spoof series recreates every aspect of a black and white silent film of the 1920s. From the classic 1.37:1 aspect ratio to the title cards to the dramatic pitch, he gets all the details right. His performers nail the acting style, which is a key to the film's success. But it's not just a gimmick. It's a reminder that sometimes words get in the way of visual storytelling.
Your appreciation of this AVC transfer relies heavily on knowing the source of this indie sci-fi drama. Filmed with a 720p camera on a next to nothing budget, the picture contains a great deal of grain that increases exponentially under low lighting conditions. One scene in the snow at night really highlights its digital origins. Banding and aliasing often creep up in higher contrasted scenes. Color are muted and natural, which fits the cool mood. But when compared to the DVD version, clarity is greatly increased with the grain issue minimized. All things considered this 1080p release is about as good as this material can look.
Here is a unique use of sci-fi. For the most part this film is a drama regarding recovering from a tragic event that fundamentally transforms one's life over night. The concept of a doppelganger planet is used as metaphor for how decisions we make create new lives and even selves.
What could a 3-D family film from Martin Scorsese be like? With HUGO now as an example, the answer is magical. And it's a magic that Scorsese is best suited to bring to life — the magic of the movies. At one point, a young boy visits a movie studio and the director leans down to him and tells him if he's ever wondered where his dreams come from this is where they are made.
I immensely enjoyed Hugo, which is now one of my favorite films of the year. The dramatic visuals showing Hugo’s narrow escapes and life in isolation really made me feel empathy for him.
I found quite a few flaws in this film, although they are mostly on the scientific side. First of all, male elephant seals do not stay with and care for their young. Also, puffins, which live in the Arctic, cannot fly the great distance to Antarctica (which is about 22,000 miles away). Puffins are not built for flying long distances and are better adapted for swimming.
ANIMATION VOLDA is a unique festival run by animation students at Volda University College in Norway. Volda is a town of roughly 7,000 people of which 3,000 are students and the festival is primarily for students and festival guests.