Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kodak Film Deal Helps Keep Chemically Based Cinematography Alive For Now

The sale of Kodak motion picture film products has seen a very sharp decline in the last 10 years, over 90%.  Kodak discontinued the production of Kodachrome on June 22, 2009.   In 2012 Kodak filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.  The home of the Academy Awards in Hollywood was known as the Kodak Theater until the bankruptcy. It's now known as the Dolby Theater.  Kodak has attempted to reduce costs by closing plants and consolidated production.   FujiFilm stopped producing nearly all motion picture film products in March 2013.  Kodak was close to stopping production of all motion picture film so in an effort to keep film products available to film makers several Hollywood studios have made an agreement that will enable the manufacturer to continue production of motion picture film for at least for the next few years.  It involves guaranteed minimum purchases made by some of the major studios.  Many prominent film makers such  as Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino lobbied the studios on behalf of Kodak to make this deal happen.  It is sad but inevitable that the time is coming when photo chemical image acquisition will become a thing of the past.  Most audience members don't notice or care about this and can't tell the differences between digital and film projection at their local movie theaters.  Digital production has gradually become far cheaper than its traditional analog counterparts and film is no longer required at any stage of the production pipeline. It's an historical time in motion picture history.

There is an interesting documentary produced by Keanu Reeves that explores this ongoing transition from film to digital imaging.  It's available to watch on Netflix.  Check out the trailer.

Read the interesting details here @

Updated Feb. 9, 2015:

News regarding Kodak's commitment to providing film @ Red Shark News

Lucy (2014) - A Disappointing Effort From Director Luc Besson

Lucy is directed by Luc Besson and stars Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman.  I would warn of spoilers but this review doesn't reveal anything that hasn't already been show in the trailers.  The trailers reveal the entire plot.  A powerful Asian drug cartel attempts to use a young woman, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), as a drug mule.  They surgically implant a powerful new drug into her abdomen and force her to transport it internationally.  As per usual things don't go as planned and the package containing the drugs is ruptured and Lucy receives a massive dose into her blood stream.  This brand new drug has remarkable properties that result in her achieving Godlike powers.  The drug is so incredible that it even affects gravity.  These effects take place almost immediately.   Lucy uses her newly acquired power as she partners with a random French policeman and they work together to take down the drug dealers.  Lucy does almost all of the real work and the random policeman is just along for the ride.  Morgan Freeman portrays the worlds foremost neuroscience expert.  His theories on human evolution and the brain attempt to lend credibility the story that rests on the premise that most humans only use 10% of our brains and asks the question what happens if someone uses 100% of their brain?  While this premise is dubious on its surface it's also dubious below the surface.  There is an interesting exploration of evolutionary concepts by juxtaposing early human and animal footage with modern man as Morgan Freeman narrates.

Watch the trailer instead of the movie.  It will save you about 87 minutes.

It could be described as a cross between Limitless and Akira but not equal to either of those superior films.  Scarlett Johansson makes a good effort, especially in the beginning, during the short time she is still human, but the material doesn't give her much to work with.   The story suffers from the problem of going too far too quickly in the first act so that what follows is almost meaningless.  This could be forgiven if the action sequences where fresh or spectacular but they offer nothing new or compelling.  The action quickly becomes like shooting rubber bands at Superman.  There is no danger of anyone getting hurt and we wouldn't care if they did.  Lucy doesn't live up to the legacy of fine films from director Luc Besson.  There are some tired car chases and gun fights.  He retreads over familiar action territory reprising scenes that are remarkably similar to those in The Professional, but not as good, down to a rocket being fired down a long hallway.   Skip this one and watch The Professional, La Femme Nikita, or The Fifth Element, in that order.  Perhaps if you have already seen all of these other films and Lucy is available through Netflix or cable it will make for a lite diversion but don't waste your time in the movie theater for this one.  You've been warned.

Rent it only if you are truly starved for entertainment.

Lucy is rated R for violence, disturbing images, and sexuality.

Lucy - 1h 29m - Action/Adventure

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mad Max: Fury Road Early Review, Kind Of...

I have had the privilege of watching Mad Max: Fury Road and I have an early review.  It is, in a word, insane!   That is all that I can say about it for now.  Check out the trailer for a glimpse of the insanity.

It is expected to receive a PG-13 rating when it is released on May 15, 2015.

New Trailer For Christopher Nolan's Interstellar - New Footage

Interstellar Trailer 3!

See more Interstellar news @

Update: You'll need the access code 7201969,
the date of the moon landing.

Hercules (2014) Movie Review - Adequate Lite Entertainment

Hercules is directed by Bret Ratner known for the Rush Hour comedies and X-Men: The Last Stand.   It tells a new story of Hercules beyond the familiar myth. The story picks up after Hercules legendary 12 labors.  The events of the 12 labors are quickly glossed over in a montage that recaps of events leading up to the events in the film.  Hercules is the leader of a small band of fighters.  His wandering band of mercenaries are basically bounty hunters.  They have an assortment of hard to pronounce and hard to remember Greek names.  Hercules and his crew meet with great success as swords for hire but he remains haunted by the mystery behind the death of his beautiful wife and children.  He is hired by the king of a local city to help deal with an army of marauders that threaten to take over his kingdom.  Hercules must face this challenge by training the cities inexperienced army and leading them against an evil army that greatly out numbers them.  Hercules primary tactic that he imparts to the soldiers he's training involves the importance of forming a wall of shields.  "Nothing can defeat a shield wall."  Really?  Nothing?

This movie is not a fantasy film in the tradition of Clash Of The Titans or Sinbad.  Everything that happens is presented as the truth behind the legend.  It's the "real" story of Hercules.   It's as if someone decided that the interesting mythical adventures of Hercules' have been told too often and now is the time that we should see the less interesting true story of the mortal Hercules.   It lacks depth or compelling story telling.  The events portrayed in the film should be engaging but they come across as cartoonish.  No one appears to be in serious danger.  We don't know any of the characters well enough to care about them.  This is an all too common problem in films.  They rush right past the characters and directly into the action as if today's audience has an attention deficit.  Hercules succeeds in most of his endeavors far too easily.  The problem may also be due in part to the PG-13 rating.   An R rating would have allowed for more realistic battle violence.  It comes across as a PG rated Conan The Barbarian.  It has a bigger budget and is slicker looking but it isn't nearly as interesting to watch.  Hollywood finds itself in a difficult position.  On the one hand it wants to tell interesting stories for adults but it also needs to sell lots of tickets.  Rated R movies don't make as much money and with big stars come big budgets so we rarely see these types of films with an R rating anymore. It's hard to imagine John MiliusConan The Barbarian or Road Warrior rated PG.
The movie has a great look and feel and a cast of excellent actors that give their all.  Dwayne Johnson and John Hurt are good as always.

The film is available in IMAX and 3D but watching in 3D adds very little to this film.  Hercules is adequate lite entertainment appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Burn, Rent, or Buy?   Rent it.
PG-13 1h 38m - Adventure/Action

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mad Max: Fury Road - First Look From Comic-Con

Looking forward to this...

Update:  I've seen Mad Max: Fury Road.  It's insane!

Meet The New Wonder Woman - Gal Gadot

There she is, Wonder Woman, as seen in the upcoming 
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Gal Gadot was Miss Israel in 2004 and is best know for her supporting roll in Fast & Furious 6

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Marvel Announces A Sequel To The Not Yet Released Guardians Of The Galaxy

At Comic Con today Marvel announced a sequel to Guardians Of The Galaxy.  This suggest that they have a lot of confidence in the Guardians and that it is going to be a big hit at the box office.  That remains to be seen but from what I have seen of the film the confidence is justified.  Until the past few months of heavy marketing many had never heard of them and now there is a strong and growing fan base for the Guardians.  With so many great merchandising possibilities, Rocket, Groot, and the other characters that appeal to kids and adults alike, it's likely to be a cash cow for Marvel for years to come.  Making this announcement so early will help to secure the talent involved for the sequel and excite fans that now have two Guardians movies to look forward to watching.

The sequel's release date is July 28, 2017.

Find out more here @

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Death Of Superman Lives - Trailer

In the 1990's Tim Burton was signed by Warner Brothers to direct Superman Lives with Nicolas Cage as The Man Of Steel. There is a trailer for a new documentary that will explore the events surrounding the development and eventual cancellation of the project.

The First Official Image Of Ben Affleck As Batman

There have been quite a few fakes but here is the first official image of 
Ben Affleck wearing his batsuit!

Why so serious?  Oh, his parent where killed and stuff...

Get more here @

Thursday, July 24, 2014

George R.R. Martin's Take on Marvel's The Avengers - SDCC 2014

Hear George R.R. Martin's Take on Marvel's The Avengers at SDCC 2014

It's very interesting to hear George R.R. Martin's thoughts on Marvel characters and stories.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pirates Of The Carribean V Announced

Pirates Of The Carribean V has been officially announced and has a release date of July 7, 2017.
 Pirates V

This is too far in the future to think about,  reserving judgment for now...

Find out more

Friday, July 18, 2014

Robocop 2's Cain Robot with Phil Tippett

Phil Tippett is one of the best stop motion animators ever.  He's know for Star Wars, Dragon Slayer, RoboCop and many other movies with great visual effects.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

Check Out This Blog Dedicated To The Alien Series

More than 30 years after the original Alien film the now classic movie and Alien design still continues to interest and fascinate people.  It's a great part of cinema history and there are a lot of interesting aspects of the design and production to study.  The STRANGE SHAPES blog is dedicated to all things to do with the Alien films, also including Prometheus.  What's important is that it features original Alien stuff.  There are nice images and information for any fan.  Please take a look.

Alien mask design 

Check it out @ alienseries

Monday, July 7, 2014

I Just Watched 17 minutes Of Guardians Of The Galaxy And...

...and I can't wait to see the rest of it.  If there is one genre that we see too little of it's Space/Action/Adventure/Comedies and Guardians Of The Galaxy is one that I'm very much looking forward to seeing.  Even more now that I've had the opportunity to watch 17 minutes of the film.  There is some terrific action and a lot of great characters in this movie. Rocket, the character that has the appearance of a raccoon but is not a raccoon, is very memorable.  Also released today was a new extended look trailer.

There are less than three weeks to wait!  If you have access to IMAX 3D that is definitely the way to watch this movie when is comes out August 1.

Doom The Dark Ages Trailer