films 电影

Project Kronos
电影《Kronos》

Huge Kudos to Haz who did this great short and looks like he’s got a feature gig off the back end.  He’s a good friend of VisPop, and hopefully we can work together someday down the track.  Anytime VFX guys get films off the ground we should all give a standing round of applause!  Well done man, sincere congrats!

 

Project Kronos from Hasraf HaZ Dulull on Vimeo.

 

Dullul, a VFX artist on “The Dark Knight,” “Hellboy 2″ and the mini-series “The Bible,” will direct from his own screenplay. Shot as a faux-documentary, Dullul’s 14-minute short chronicles a space agency of the near future and its first contact with intelligent life on an interstellar space mission.”

Producers are Chris Lemole and Tim Zajaros of Armory Films, Chris Bender, JC Spink & Jake Weiner of Benderspink and Scott Glassgold and Raymond Brothers of IAM Entertainment. Glassgold and Brothers developed and produced the original short film, which debuted earlier this year…

Here’s the article in Variety about his movie deal!

Mr. Go International Trailer
《大明猩》国际预告片

No matter where you are in the world, sometimes you just wanna have fun at the movies!  Good on em’, I’ll bet this thing does huge business world wide…  I’m rooting for that CG Mr. Go!

 

mr-go-6-resized

 

 

 

HONG KONG — “Mr Go,” which releases today in South Korea and on Thursday in China is a big bet by any standards.

Costing some $25 million to produce, the film is a hybrid live action/CGI comedy-drama about a Chinese gorilla who becomes a super-sized hero in Korea’s professional baseball league.

It necessitated amounts of motion capture and digital effects that are unprecedented in a Korean movie – the gorilla Ling Ling, initially animated by an actor wearing crutches strapped to his forearms, appears in about 1,000 of the film’s 2,000 shots. And it was filmed in native stereoscopic 3-D.That all required director Kim Yong-hwa to set up an off-the-shelf company, Dexter Film, and to employ 150 CG professionals.

On top of that the movie is structured as a full Korean-Chinese co-production, involving Korea’s Showbox/Mediaplex and China’s Huayi Bros. There’s a growing tide of these co-operative ventures, but it is still rare for Chinese companies to put up hard cash and take a minority position. Huayi is understood to have invested some $6 million as well as its p&a commitment. The Chinese studio named it as one of its four key movie releases of 2013.

With obstacles and ambitions of that scale, the film also needed some inbuilt advantages. It is based on a popular cartoon series “The 7th Team,” penned by Heo Young-man, which gives it an inbuilt audience awareness in Korea, though Kim has been free with his adaptation of the story. Second, Kim has a strong track record as director of hit “200 Pound Beauty” and sports comedy “Take Off.”

Kim says he was inspired by the empathy between characters in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” whereas FX supervisor Jung Sung-jin says he watched classic gorilla movies including “Congo,” “Rise of The Planet of The Apes” and “King Kong.”

Kim and Jung also report that they had to pick their VFX team very carefully and painstakingly help the animators to unlearn much of what they had previously established as working practice. Making the CG invisible was their biggest challenge

Rest of the Variety Article here:

JIANG WEN’s “Gone With The Bullets” Oh yeah!!
姜文的《一步之遥》喔耶!

GoneWithBullets-002-1024x310

PIXOMONDO is honored to work with Director JIANG WEN on his new feature film “Gone With The Bullets”

PIXOMONDO荣幸参与姜文导演新片《一步之遥》

Gone With The Bullets is set in 1920′s Shanghai. “It will be another action drama about contests of wits and power. It has a tense pace and is full of Jiang Wen’s playful imagination but on a grander scale,” says Marco Ma co-owner of Beijing-based Buyilehu Films.

《一步之遥》故事设定在19世纪20年代的大上海。“这将会是姜导另一个关于智慧与力量争夺的动作影片。这部影片富有紧张的节奏,并充满着姜文式顽皮的想象力。”北京不亦乐乎影视公司合伙人马柯提到。

Pixomondo is in charge of all Visual Effects works on the project and is tasked with the development of key visual effects sequences. Pixomondo Beijing’s Senior VFX Supervisor, John Dietz, is leading our international team and we look forward to further collaboration from pre-production (including previz and concept art) through shooting and in to post-production.

Pixomondo全权负责这部影片的视效内容,并参与重大特效场次的艺术创作。由 Pixo北京公司高级视效总监John Dietz带领这支国际团队,热情饱满,目前正加紧进行前期制作(包括前期预演和概念设定),随后将进入现场监理以及后期制作。

You can check out the full blurb on the Pixo website here.

It’s great to be working with Pixomondo on this project.  We’re doing some great things in Beijing.  For those of you in the west, Jiang Wen is the best and most famous domestic Chinese director.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out his films… Please, Please close your web-browser and go find one right now.  Here’s a link to his IMDB.  Check out Devils On The Doorstep and The Sun Also Rises.  He’s an amazing actor as well…  He’s cool & I’m honored to be working with such an amazing filmaker!  This is sure to be a special film!

Gone_with_the_bullets_poster

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Keanu’s Directing Debut

keanu

I’m not sure how big of news it is in the west, but Keanu Reeves just release his Directorial Debut film:  The Man Of Tai Chi.  It’s a Chinese film for Chinese audiences with the intent to make distribution in the west.

I saw the film and it’s ok… some great action, but way too much of it.  It has moments where you feel like you’re watching a Hong Kong film of the 70’s…  The movie’s main failing is Keanu’s casting choice for his hero,  Tiger Chen, a stunt man who has to be questioned for his acting chops.  I don’t want to review the film, so I’ll shut up about it creatively.  If you want to read reviews there are a couple here:

Variety

Hollywood Reporter

What’s interesting is the business end of the film…  It’s a western film / filmmaker spending money in China to make a Chinese films.

Unfortunately it tanked!  Less then US$3mil on opening weekend which means probably less than US$10mil for all it’s Chinese run.  Reportedly the film was picked up by the Weinstein Co. so hopefully it’ll have a good global run.

There’s a little article about the movie at chinafilmbiz.com

The movie is about a young martial artist’s unparalleled Tai Chi skills land him in a highly lucrative underworld fight club.

Here’s a link to the trailer.

 

Pacific Rim Making Of Video

pacific_rim-wide

I’m really excited about the new Guillermo Del Toro film:  Pacific Rim.  I’ve been a big fan of Del Toro’s films since Pan’s Labyrinth and it was great to have a couple meetings with him for a potential project a few years back.  He has always has a great eye for effects and he’s at the forefront of making films international.

 

PACIFIC RIM

 

This one has a great international, multi-cultural ensemble cast!  This summer is showing that A-list actor’s don’t open summer tent-pole films any more.  I hope this one does well in China…

Here’s a link to the very cool Pacific Rim making of video.

 

 

“VisPop” in Hunger Games Credits!

I’m never one to be that much into credits, but man am I proud of VisPop being up there on the credit-roll of The Hunger Games.  After a year of VisPop being a company, With James, Jim, Ann, and myself working so hard to make things happen, it’s such a great feeling to see VisPop up there on the big screen for the first of MANY times to come!!  With the huge Spectacle surrounding the film, it makes it all the better with our focus as a company.  James, Jim, Ann I’m sorry your names aren’t up there, but VisPop’s is!  WOOOOOOoooooo!  Thanks Rising Sun, Chantal and Lionsgate for doing it, that’s very cool!

VisPop’s work on The Hunger Games 维斯泡泡与《饥饿游戏》

So VisPop just finished up working with Rising Sun Pictures on the “The Hunger Games”.  We came in to help supervise on 209 of the film’s more difficult shots.  We worked closely with the filmmakers and the artists at RSP to execute some amazing visual effects work on what will become one of the years biggest High Spectacle films.

Our main responsibilities for the Hunger Games were the Mutations, the Capital City and the full Tribute Parade sequence including Katniss & Peeta’s Fire wings.  We also worked on a whole load of other cg environments, misc 2d/3d work and Katniss’ kick ass fire dress.  The Capital City was a huge challenge!  The design process went on for a long time, but it is well worth it in the results.  It was very clear that nothing like The Capital has ever existed so it had to be created in cg.  The closest reference was probably Welthauptstadt Germania which we came back to a lot for ideas.  The next biggest challenge were the mutations!  Anytime you get into creature work it’s great and the concept here made it all the more kick-ass.  The hardest part, not unlike any creature work, was in working out how anthropomorphised the critters were.  In this case how much of the characteristics come from the tributes and how much comes from a dog?  I’m really proud of how they turned out, I think the guys did some fantastic cg on the Muts.  It was great to work with Daniel Jeannette again.  He did an amazing job directing the animation!  The other big challenge was the Tribute Parade.  The Tributes, Snow, and some of the close-up crowds were live action, but the rest of that entire sequence is cg.  We did all the Presidential Palace and Avenue, lots and lots of crowd work, all the fire wings… man, just a lot of work.  But when you sit down and see that sequence pieced together it nails the aesthetic of the Capital.  Anytime the visual effects pound home that tone in a smart way you feel proud to have brought that work to the project.

We really do feel privileged to have been part of such an amazing high spectacle film that is clearly destined to have a huge impact on society and culture.  We’ve just returned from Hong Kong where the media storm for Hunger Games is as big as it is here in Sydney.  We haven’t been in North America while the marketing frenzy has been ramping up, but we’re hearing the scale that Lionsgate is pushing the film is almost unprecedented, particularly for a mid-major studio.  It’s all well worth it, the film stays really close to the book and the book is fantastic.  My personal opinion is they have really nailed the empowerment angle for kids.  In the Narnia films, for example, the kids become kings and queens and their empowerment comes through the responsibility those roles bring.  In Hunger Games the kids are thrown into a more gritty and real context where self survival (and all of society’s survival by proxy) becomes the empowerment.  I can see that extra edge being attractive to kids and teens.  Combine in high spectacle action and dystopian, anti-government themes for an entertaining experience for the older demographic  AND of course there’s plenty of romance and elegant dresses.  It’s a cool concept for a film (actually 3-4 films) and no-doubt will cane it at the box office!

VisPop is incredibly proud of the people we collaborated with on the show and would like to think the visual fx work will stand out as some of 2012′s best!  It was great to work with RSP again.  We always have a lot of time for the folks over there in Adelaide who continually are working on some of Hollywoods best!  So go drop the $18AU for a movie ticket, another $10 for some popcorn and sit back to be entertained by High Spectacle Film at it’s best.  Ohhh, not to take sides but VisPop is definitely team Gale… (and Peta sucks.)

John Carter of Meh

I have a question for Andrew Stanton.

I just came out of John Carter of Mars…  I’m a huge Andrew Stanton fan and a huge Pixar fan, but I was really bummed out about this film.   This past week Stanton’s Ted Talk on storytelling has been going around the web.  It’s a great watch!  In that talk he goes on about a number of storytelling techniques he’s learned over the years.  Two of his tips kept ringing through my head while sitting in an empty Imax theater watching John Carter.

  1. No matter what, give the audience a reason to care.
  2. Make your Hero likable.

That leads to my question:

How does one of the better storytellers of our generation set out on his first live action film with a budget around $250 million and not follow his own storytelling rules? How does this happen??

Hey, I’m a spectacle guy… (hell, who isn’t into some popcorn munchin space opera?) but Stanton didn’t take his own advice:  Does amazing cg give me a reason to care?  No… Does a huge weepy score give me a reason to care?  No…  Does a giant battle scene where JC is buried in the dead bodies he’s carving up make me care?  Well… Kinda…  BUT, over the top film-making techniques alone don’t make us care!  You know what makes us care?  Stanton’s rule #2:

Make the hero likable.  Repeat: Make the hero likable…  Man, after Stanton’s Ted Talk the last thing I thought would happen was that John Carter would be such a dick!  In the Ted Talk Stanton showed a board-amatic of early days Toy Story.  Tom Hanks is a total dick!  He’s berating and bullying the toys, and he’s being a full on dick.  That’s right, Woody was a dick (no pun intended).  Stanton tells the story of how they had made Woody a dick so that his arc could be more dramatic.  The story wasn’t working but through hard work they (Pixar) figured out they needed to write him likable.  That lesson, Stanton says, was one of the main things they took away from the Toy Story experience.   It’s ironic: With $250mil, armies of technicians and artists, years of planning and execution he couldn’t make John Carter likable.  BUT with half of the budget, less time and nowhere near the crew; Brad Bird was able to make Tom Cruise likable in Mission Impossible 4.  You would of thought it would of taken the $100mil vfx budget to make Tom Cruise endearing (post 1980’s of course).   I guess we know who of the Freshmen Brainstrust has successfully crossed over out of Pixar.

I don’t wanna be a hater, I love Stanton’s films!  Wall-E is one of the classic stories in filmmaking.  Pixar and Stanton have balls down to their ankles to make the first half of Wall-E a silent film.  It set the benchmark for this years Oscar winner “The Artist”.  Pixar and the Braintrust have always had balls, going all the way back to Toy Story.  As far as story goes, Pixar and their directors would not be denied.   As far as John Carter goes:  I didn’t care.  There was nothing new.  AND it was flat out on the nose…  John Carter has no balls.

We still love you Andrew!  But next time, please, give us a reason to care.

Extended Hunger Games TV Spot

Box office forecasters now predict that The Hunger Games will break $100 million on its first weekend of release in the US.

See the new spot <here> at <bleedingCool.com>

Prometheus Q&A

I’m lining up for this bad boy!  Can not wait for this film to come out!

Read all about the Prometheus Q&A <here> on <bleedingCool.com>