New Films in Production

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
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Mr Sausage
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Re: New Films in Production

#1701 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:34 pm

Unfortunately, this new Blade Runner will be all CGI, and despite their cutting edge nature, the effects will be quite a bit less impressive than what was achieved on the original movie. Plus it's unlikely Scott will do something strange and non-commercial like the first one.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: New Films in Production

#1702 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:01 am

Well, it's possible that the connection to a well-remembered property like Blade Runner will be enough of a marketing hook to allow the movie to wander off into perversely non-commercial territory, and I don't know that we can safely judge how well executed the effects will be until we see them- I don't think that CGI is inherently less impressive than well-executed practical effects, even if that's nearly always the case.

There's certainly plenty of territory left to explore without repeating the first movie, or dragging out points that were left ambiguous- hopefully, this will be something connected but not a direct sequel, as Prometheus apparently will be. I would be interested to see Scott's take on the territories- we never actually get there in either Blade Runner or Do Androids Dream, but similar settings are explored fairly thoroughly in other Dick works, and I would love to see Martian Time-Slip or the colony parts of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch in a movie.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: New Films in Production

#1703 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:01 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:Well, it's possible that the connection to a well-remembered property like Blade Runner will be enough of a marketing hook to allow the movie to wander off into perversely non-commercial territory
I assume Ridley Scott can do whatever he likes at this point. And what he likes to do, judging from the last decade or so, is pretty straightforward and commercial in all the ways that Blade Runner wasn't. He's a completely different filmmaker than he was while making his third feature.
matrixschmatrix wrote:and I don't know that we can safely judge how well executed the effects will be until we see them- I don't think that CGI is inherently less impressive than well-executed practical effects, even if that's nearly always the case.
I think they will be executed superbly. There's no reason to suppose they won't be. They will still be less impressive, tho'. As to whether or not this is inherent to CGI, I'll just say that the level of difficulty to be overcome is as important to the impressiveness of special effects as anything else, and CGI has allowed filmmakers to do pretty much anything rather easily.

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knives
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Re: New Films in Production

#1704 Post by knives » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:04 pm

Creating effective CGI isn't that easy if that's your argument. There are many hours of tedious work involved and just one frame of animation has a lot of working components to it. There are reasons why CGI is generally not as effective, but that isn't one in the least.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: New Films in Production

#1705 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:12 pm

knives wrote:Creating effective CGI isn't that easy if that's your argument. There are many hours of tedious work involved and just one frame of animation has a lot of working components to it. There are reasons why CGI is generally not as effective, but that isn't one in the least.
The amount of drudgery involved is neither here nor there. It's much easier now to create CGI effects than to do so practically, which is why so many films opt for it. It is not that there is no difficulty involved, just that there is less, and that CGI effects are much easier to create and integrate than practical effects.

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knives
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Re: New Films in Production

#1706 Post by knives » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:16 pm

Fine, but what does that have to do with their effectiveness. You yourself say it is easier to integrate them into the film.

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Re: New Films in Production

#1707 Post by swo17 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:24 pm

CGI is effective to the viewer (to me, anyway) to the extent that it can't be recognized as CGI. It may be more cost effective than practical effects in a lot of cases, but that doesn't necessarily translate into more convincing effects.

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knives
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Re: New Films in Production

#1708 Post by knives » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:39 pm

My problem with Sausage's comments is that it insinuates that something like Zodiac is inherently less impressive than it's practical effects brothers. That's not something that you can predict until you've seen the world that they're making. With the exception of the flying cars nothing in the original movie would go beyond the Zodiac style of CGI so I have no reason to believe it can't be that impressive.

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John Cope
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Re: New Films in Production

#1709 Post by John Cope » Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:14 pm

This is really tough for me as I very much feel as though I have lived with the original film for most of my life (and I guess I have after a fashion). It was hugely impactful on me at an age in which I was open to be shaped by such experiences, I think. So it is precious and dear to me. So I don't know what to do with this news.

I agree in essence with knives in that what can best be hoped for at this point is that the opportunity allows for us to get a rare look at an artist re-engaging with his own most pivotal work, reflecting upon it and even maybe reassessing it. But Scott is not Lynch or Kubrick or someone I inherently trust to draw something worthwhile out of that opportunity. I was a huge fan and supporter for many years but this has waned over time and I am much more critical of his work and its seemingly indifferent capitulation to commercial cinema dictates. He just doesn't seem particularly interested in his art anymore or his craft or whatever you'd care to call it. And, yes, I know there are many who would argue he never was, that he and Lyne and Parker, et al. should have been flushed to start. Clearly I don't agree with that.

But just as clearly (from my perspective at least) is the fact that Scott's greatest accomplishments are far behind him at this point; as I've suggested elsewhere, I would say his last flat out masterpiece is well over twenty years ago now. The stuff since then has been a mixed bag to say the least and this last decade in particular has been especially frustrating and I say that as one of the very few people apparently who liked his Robin Hood and, in fact, like it a lot. What I'm hoping is that there is some unconscious symmetry on display in his work with Gladiator and Robin Hood (mirror images of one another) framing an especially commercial period and with Kingdom of Heaven (another variation on same) providing a mid-period pivot point. I hope that because it is an understatement to say that the Ridley Scott of 2011 is not the Ridley Scott of 1981. It's hard to imagine the latter Scott ever making anything as uninspired as A Good Year or as rote and utterly forgettable as Body of Lies. He flourishes with a good screenwriter, that much we know, so best of luck on the search there. I am wary of Lindelof's involvement in Prometheus but I am nontheless very hopeful for that picture in expectation that it might mark a new, less stupefyingly safe and more radical direction for Scott's cinema. But does he even have it in him anymore?

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Roger Ryan
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Re: New Films in Production

#1710 Post by Roger Ryan » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:06 pm

I think what fans react to with Scott's earlier films is their sense of design. Coming from a commercial background, he was fastidiously taken with getting the look right, but was perhaps less concerned with overall story or performances (note how all the actors in ALIEN recall that Scott gave them virtually no direction). What works wonderfully with Scott's first three films is that the overall design is either startling original (ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER) or an expert imitation of Kubrick (THE DUELISTS and, yes, ALIEN again to some extent) plus he had very good scripts and actors to support everything else going on. However, as early as his fourth film LEGEND, we start to see that the film's brilliant design can't carry a film with a weak script and this forms the pattern throughout Scott's subsequent career. Given that he has avoided science-fiction or the fantastic since the mid-80s, we're left with various period films for him to astonish us with his design aesthetic (which may or may not have decent scripts) and more routine films set in the modern day where the design element is simply not going to be as attention-drawing (but which may or may not have decent scripts and casts to carry them). This is not to say that Scott isn't a good director apart from the design of his films (personally, I think AMERICAN GANGSTER was really well-done), but I believe his elevation to auteur is based primarily on his ability to create a very detailed and authentic sense-of-place.

From all reports I've heard, Scott still invests himself fully in getting the look right; it's just that the novelty of that look is not as staggering as it was in the early years. His return to both the ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER worlds, however, might very well give him the canvas to do what he does best on a eye-catching scale. We'll see.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: New Films in Production

#1711 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:27 pm

knives wrote:Fine, but what does that have to do with their effectiveness. You yourself say it is easier to integrate them into the film.
I'm sorry, but it comes across like you haven't payed any attention to what I've said. In the first place, I never said a thing about effectiveness, I said:
Mr Sausage wrote:the effects will be quite a bit less impressive than what was achieved on the original movie.
These words are not synonyms and I don't see why there should be any confusion on this point. As to your comment about it being easier, again I have to wonder if you're actually reading my posts:
Mr Sausage wrote:the level of difficulty to be overcome is as important to the impressiveness of special effects as anything else,
knives wrote:My problem with Sausage's comments is that it insinuates that something like Zodiac is inherently less impressive than it's practical effects brothers.
Aside from caricaturing my posts with a deliberate dysphemism (you mean that I imply it, but why say that when you can say I insinuate it instead), this is nonsensical. What practical effects "brothers" are you talking about? How would comparing two randomly chosen films (including one that tries to disguise the fact that it's even using effects) refute anything that I have said? I have a better idea: take any CGI you think is well done and then ask yourself whether it would be more, less, or equally impressive if they had done the exact same thing with the exact same effectiveness using practical effects. I wager in the majority of cases, it would be more impressive.

You can of course say that there are some things that practical effects could never achieve as effectively as CGI, which may be true; but in the case of Blade Runner, there is little CGI could do to improve on the effects of that film (well aware Scott touched up the recent version with them), and that considering the amount that can be done sitting on front of the computer these days, creating the same world using CGI is a less impressive feat. So much so that they did it for a video game adaptation of the film some years ago.

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John Cope
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Re: New Films in Production

#1712 Post by John Cope » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:43 pm

Roger Ryan wrote:I believe his elevation to auteur is based primarily on his ability to create a very detailed and authentic sense-of-place.
I agree with you in principle but I really don't think this gives Scott enough credit for the very specific thematic preoccupations that have tended to shape his career. For instance, it's no fluke that he wound up making Thelma & Louise. It was just a more overt extension of his interest in the meaning and malleability of gender roles and the presumptions of strength/weakness we bring to them implicitly (examples before obviously include Alien but also the whole male-female dynamic in BR and, especially, in Someone to Watch Over Me; later examples become even more overt, bordering on the crass, with G.I. Jane in particular as the ultimate petri dish).

But there is also his deep comprehension of the structure, effects and details of fairy tales and moral narratives. Legend is hampered by a less than ideal script but the director's cut is magnificent anyway, a fully realized vision of classic fairy tale design, all its mores and tropes. That same kind of thing informs the Grand Guignol Gothicism of Hannibal. And that one, in turn, also displays that other inherent, abiding interest in morality, most specifically the examination of the virtuous life or character and how, in fact, in can best be understood and depicted in idealized ways (this is why, I would argue, Balian's Crusade in the long cut of Kingdom of Heaven is never "profound"; Scott's not reaching for that but rather for an idealized depiction of perfected character). There are many examples of this focus: Moore in Hannibal, at sea in a sea of amorality or blatant immorality, Crowe in American Gangster as self-conscious embodiment of the "one good cop" and Berenger's whole arc in STWOM.

I don't know whether Scott himself realizes all this consciously, intellectually and, if not, this could explain a lot of his missteps as being the product of someone who doesn't recognize his own strengths and where his vision is apt to be most refined.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: New Films in Production

#1713 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:57 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:Take any CGI you think is well done and then ask yourself whether it would be more, less, or equally impressive if they had done the exact same thing with the exact same effectiveness using practical effects. I wager in the majority of cases, it would be more impressive.
If it's exactly the same, than it's exactly equally impressive, as a viewer. I don't really give a damn what went into the effects, I care about what I see- so if there's no change in the results, I don't know why there should be a change in my perception. When I watch shots like the changing-decades montage in Zodiac, I'm impressed by the imagination that went into the shot, how it works on screen, how well it works within the movie, etc, and any consideration of what means were used to accomplish it are secondary at best.

Moreover, it's not as though CGI has rendered practical effects obsolete- it's a tool, like any other. The Lord of the Rings movies used an enormous number of miniatures, trick shots, forced perspective, all the classic tricks from the handbag, and an enormous amount of CGI as well- I think the blend of the two is why they hold up relatively well, effects-wise, when a lot of movies from around 2001 look dated already. There are things practical effects can accomplish that CGI can't, but I expect an intelligent director to know that and to use practical effects to do those things.

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knives
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Re: New Films in Production

#1714 Post by knives » Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:05 pm

Exactly. When it comes to Matte paintings and cleaning up practical effects CGI can be a very impressive tool. There's no imbalance in that quality at all and when used properly either can be equally impressive.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: New Films in Production

#1715 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:08 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:If it's exactly the same, than it's exactly equally impressive, as a viewer. I don't really give a damn what went into the effects, I care about what I see- so if there's no change in the results, I don't know why there should be a change in my perception. When I watch shots like the changing-decades montage in Zodiac, I'm impressed by the imagination that went into the shot, how it works on screen, how well it works within the movie, etc, and any consideration of what means were used to accomplish it are secondary at best.
If you wish to be insensitive to these things, by all means. For me, and for a lot of other people I would assume, the difficulty of the task makes it all the more impressive when it's done well, and that changes the effect on me as a viewer. For the same reason that I am more impressed by the gravity defying camera in a movie such as The Last Laugh or Sunrise than I am the same in a film made in the era of the steadicam, so I am more impressed by the incredible detail, the seamlessness, and the scope of the practical effects in Blade Runner than in a CGI equivalent because it took all the more effort and ingenuity to pull off. Indeed, incredibly detailed CGI futureworlds have become fairly passe, whereas Blade Runner never ceases to impress me with its visuals, even after having seen it a dozen or so times. Seeing it on the big screen for the first time a few years ago, I sat in awe of its effects and visuals in a way that I haven't with any other CGI extravaganza I can think of. Creating that world with practical effects is just such a larger achievement than doing the same with CGI, however incredible the latter
matrixscmatrix wrote:Moreover, it's not as though CGI has rendered practical effects obsolete
That's certainly not something I either stated or implied. Plus I agree with you that the reason the LOTR effects hold up so well (compared to the terrible looking effects of, say, the Star Wars prequels) is because Jackson integrated a lot of practical effects. Try not to be so kneejerk in your disagreements with me. I'm not actually saying anything contentious; I'm making a basic point that the difficulty involved in achieving what Blade Runner did with practical effects is more impressive than doing the same with CGI. I am not saying that CGI is not impressive or cannot be impressive. Just not as impressive as practical equivalents in a lot of cases.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: New Films in Production

#1716 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:41 pm

Well, fair enough, but that argument still seems to presume a lack of imagination on the filmmaker's part- I would imagine there's still something out there that's impressively difficult to do. Certainly, apart from any question of CGI, worldbuilding has become so much a part of of the fantasy and sci-fi movie playbook that while it's certainly still possible to be breathtakingly imaginative within the field (here I'm thinking of Mirrormask) it is no longer possible to be groundbreaking in quite the way Blade Runner was, as that ground has already been broken. Which is one of the reasons I'd love to see this version focus on some of Dick's more interior explorations, which presents a field for visualization that has been tried a lot but rarely succeeded, and still seems to have a lot of open territory.

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zedz
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Re: New Films in Production

#1717 Post by zedz » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:00 am

matrixschmatrix wrote:Moreover, it's not as though CGI has rendered practical effects obsolete.
After all, even George Lucas has taken to wearing Jabba the Hutt's neck!

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knives
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Re: New Films in Production

#1718 Post by knives » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:01 am

Just the neck?

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zedz
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Re: New Films in Production

#1719 Post by zedz » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:15 am

matrixschmatrix wrote:Well, fair enough, but that argument still seems to presume a lack of imagination on the filmmaker's part- I would imagine there's still something out there that's impressively difficult to do. Certainly, apart from any question of CGI, worldbuilding has become so much a part of of the fantasy and sci-fi movie playbook that while it's certainly still possible to be breathtakingly imaginative within the field (here I'm thinking of Mirrormask) it is no longer possible to be groundbreaking in quite the way Blade Runner was, as that ground has already been broken. Which is one of the reasons I'd love to see this version focus on some of Dick's more interior explorations, which presents a field for visualization that has been tried a lot but rarely succeeded, and still seems to have a lot of open territory.
On a more serious note, of course there's the possibility of the use of CGI being as mind-blowing and imaginative as traditional special effects (see, for instance, Gondry's "Come into my World", where he uses digital compositing - alongside incredibly painstaking real-world choreography, it must be said - to reconfigure time), but 'doing practical effects more cheaply' is unlikely to be in the same league. Creating worlds like those seen in Bladerunner is so run-of-the-mill nowadays that a CGI version of what we saw in the original film would be completely underwhelming. Even something ten times as detailed and flexible is likely to be underwhelming at this point. (Which is I think the point that Sausage was making.)

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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Re: New Films in Production

#1720 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:01 am

I can't see that anyone has posted on the new Resnais. A retelling of the Orpheus myth. An impressive line-up even if it mixes, for some, those you love to hate - Dussolier, Azema, Arditti- with those you love to love -Consigny, Almaric, Wilson.
http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/ ... ieu_amalr/#" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Forrest Taft
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Re: New Films in Production

#1721 Post by Forrest Taft » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:46 am

Roy Andersson has started working on his next picture, En duva satt på en gren - och funderade på tillvaron (A Pigeon Sat on a Branch - Reflecting on Existence). It will not premiere until 2013, but the latest issues of Nordic film magazines Ekko, FLM, Episodi and Rushprint include a DVD featuring (among other things) 3 scenes from Andersson's upcoming feature.

ianungstad
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Re: New Films in Production

#1722 Post by ianungstad » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:11 am

More tinkering from Harvey Weinstein. This time on "Our Idiot Brother" :
Jesse Peretz wrote:In the version of the movie we screened at Sundance, [Rudd’s character Ned] just says goodbye to his family and drives off in a truck with Billy [Lavin] and they have kind of a sweet conversation, but you don't know where they're going. It's not particularly funny,” the director recalled. “When the Weinsteins picked it up and were prepared to put more money into it, we sort of talked about how we could deliver a little bit more of a satisfying ending.
Since we are on the cusp of fall festival (and acquisition) season it will be interesting to see what hot titles Harvey snaps up and then cuts to pieces trying to add his "improvements". Though to be fair, Our Idiot Brother looked pretty bad anyways.

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mfunk9786
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Re: New Films in Production

#1723 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:41 am

At least we know that PTA won't stand for that sort of thing.

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Re: New Films in Production

#1724 Post by Grand Illusion » Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:51 am

Our idiot distributor.

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knives
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Re: New Films in Production

#1725 Post by knives » Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:58 pm

Has anyone actually seen The Wicker Tree? At this point I'm tempted to say it doesn't exist.

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