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April 29, 2009

FirstShowing.net Daily Update

Filed under: Entertainment, Movies — hypeplug @ 5:50 pm

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FirstShowing.net Daily Update

Hey J.J. Abrams, What’s With the Lens Flares in Star Trek?

Posted: 29 Apr 2009 04:31 AM PDT

Star Trek

Once everyone finally gets to see Star Trek next weekend, one complaint that I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot of will be in regards to the excessive use of lens flares. Director J.J. Abrams and his cinematographer Daniel Mindel use them a lot, we’re talking about in almost every scene, and multiple times in every scene. We did quote Mindel at one point, who explained that at least on the Bridge of the USS Enterprise, he used those flares to give a “very realistic feel to an otherwise static scene.” But as for Abrams and why he wanted to use so many – well, we’ll let the filmmaker tell you himself, or at least via a press conference last week.

Before we go any further, let’s take a look at the definition of lens flare: Light scattered in lens systems through generally unwanted image formation mechanisms, such as internal reflection and scattering from material inhomogeneities in the lens. Essentially, a lens flare is a (usually) curved or circular image of light superimposed on the frame created by the lenses of the camera (see an example here).

So why would anyone actually want lens flares in their movie? “I wanted a visual system that felt unique,” Abrams says (via io9). “I know there are certain shots where even I watch and think, ‘Oh that’s ridiculous, that was too many.’ But I love the idea that the future was so bright it couldn’t be contained in the frame.” Interesting thought so far, and I like where he’s going with this, as I trust that most of Abrams’ decisions are for a good reason. But that’s only just the start, as Abrams explains. “The flares weren’t just happening from on-camera light sources, they were happening off camera, and that was really the key to it,” he says.

“I want [to create] the sense that, just off camera, something spectacular is happening. There was always a sense of something, and also there is a really cool organic layer that’s a quality of it. They [lens flares] were all done live, they weren’t added later. There are something about those flares, especially in a movie that can potentially be very sterile and CG and overly controlled. There is something incredibly unpredictable and gorgeous about them. It is a really fun thing. Our DP would be off camera with this incredibly powerful flashlight aiming it at the lens. It became an art because different lenses required angles, and different proximity to the lens. Sometimes, when we were outside we’d use mirrors.”

Abrams goes on to say that the lens flares were “like another actor in the scene,” which is a bit crazy. “It was this ridiculous, added level of pain in the ass,” he says. “[The flares] to me, were a fun additional touch that I think, while overdone, in some places, it feels like the future is that bright.” Essentially, they served a dual purpose of representing how bright the future really would be, at least in the Star Trek universe, which is certainly viable (considering how easy it is to create energy at that point). And they also were a way of adding some realism to scenes in order to prevent the audience from thinking it was shot on a static set.

I’m just amazed that Abrams had a legitimate answer for this that actually made some sense, too. While I know there will be some complaints, I never really had a major issue with the flares, except in a few scenes where I temporarily felt like I was being blinded by some off-screen light. But maybe that was exactly what he wanted in that scene, plus it added some sort of vibrancy to the moment, beyond the acting. Satisfied?

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Early Hints of What to Expect in Rodriguez’s Predators

Posted: 29 Apr 2009 03:34 AM PDT

Predator

Just a week ago we brought you word that Robert Rodriguez would officially be rebooting the Predator franchise with a new film called Predators. The pitch was simple: “In the reboot a team of commandos face down a mysterious race of vicious monsters.” Since everyone wanted to know more about it, Harry at Ain’t It Cool News tracked down Rodriguez and got him to answer a few questions. His answers were sent it last week, but I thought they’d still be worth mentioning since I haven’t brought them up yet. Importantly, Rodriguez explains that this is simply Fox taking an interest in treatment that he wrote 15 years ago.

“With a nod toward Cameron’s Aliens I decided to call it Predators. I set it on a jungle-like Predator planet.” It wasn’t until recently that Fox found the treatment and gave him a call. Now they’ve started some early development, however it looks like they’re going to bring in a new writer and director to take over the reigns, so that Rodriguez won’t have to do it all on his own. However, the project will still be produced at Troublemaker Studios in Austin, so that he “can feel free to walk to the Predators soundstage, pick up a camera and co-shoot the coolest scenes.” As for a hint at what Rodriguez wants to do with the franchise…

“What I’d like to do with it is expand on ideas I dreamt up back in the original treatment, that had really expanded on the universe both the Predators and other species live in. We’d create new otherworldly characters while not taking away from the draw our main Predator has. I think another reason I called it Predators was to mark it as a project that should be taken seriously by a filmmaker to make a worthy follow up to a classic, much in the way Cameron made Aliens a compelling work on its own, following Ridley Scott’s Alien.”

That’s all we’ll get for now, especially considering Rodriguez isn’t sure whether they’ll go in a different direction or stick with what he has in his treatment. I’m worried that Fox will take this down the wrong path, but I think with Rodriguez involved, he’ll make sure it doesn’t get screwed over. I like his idea so far and I’m honestly more happy to see the Predator franchise rebooted than restarted, as there’s no need for another sequel. It’ll be cool to see them expand upon what we’ve seen. While I can complain all day about how their is no more originality, I’m actually kind of excited to see Fox interested in bringing back both Alien and Predator. As long as they’re not fighting against each other, I think we’ll be fine.

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Danny Huston to Play Poseidon in Clash of the Titans

Posted: 29 Apr 2009 12:40 AM PDT

Danny Huston

Although principal photography started earlier this week, there are still more casting announcements to be made. The latest to join Louis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans remake is actor Danny Huston, who can be seen as William Stryker in X-Men Origins: Wolverine this weekend. Huston has previously appeared in 21 Grams, The Aviator, Marie Antoinette, Children of Men, The Number 23, and 30 Days of Night as well. In the original film, Poseidon was played by Jack Gwillim. I always remember him as the rather unexciting god who just swam around in slow motion underwater. I hope Hudson brings some more thunder this time.

In Clash of the Titans, the ultimate struggle for power pits men against kings and kings against gods. Born of a god but raised as a man, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is helpless to save his family from Hades, vengeful god of the underworld. With nothing left to lose, Perseus volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to defeat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus and unleash hell on earth. Leading a daring band of warriors, Perseus sets off on a perilous journey deep into forbidden worlds. Battling unholy demons and fearsome beasts, he will only survive if he can accept his power as a god, defy his fate and create his own destiny.

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Take That Michael Bay – McG Challenges Him Yet Again?

Posted: 28 Apr 2009 10:47 PM PDT

McG

Its been rather quiet on the McG vs Michael Bay front, but all that is about to change. The last time we posted an update on this was in February, when McG went off on Michael Bay, saying that his robots were much more realistic and didn’t dance. We never heard a response from Michael Bay, and that’s probably because he has been in post-production on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ever since. However, before we even get to hear a response from Bay, McG is backing taking more shots at him via Men’s Style. This time, though, he might’ve hit all-time low, as this is just ridiculous and getting far too out of hand.

“Michael Bay has a big cock,” McG says to Men’s Style. “But I’d like to believe mine is bigger.” McG smiles. “If he’s up for it, we can both reveal ourselves on the Spartacus steps at Universal and put the question to rest.”

Yes, McG did just say that, believe it or not. The quote, as mentioned, comes from an interview in Men’s Style and is brought up right at the end. Sure it was fun hearing McG joke about how his robots don’t do “breakdancing and flips and backspins,” but now he’s gone too far. I don’t want to personally see McG and Michael Bay go at it (especially not like this), because each of them is unique and brings their own style to their own movies. Of course, you can expect we’ll hear a response from Michael Bay soon enough. I’m sure it’ll have something to do with their box office earnings, as that’s probably an easy win for Michael Bay.

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John Wells and Don Murphy Adapting The Forgotten Comic

Posted: 28 Apr 2009 10:30 PM PDT

The Forgotten

Even though John Wells may be off shooting his own movie (The Company Men), it doesn’t mean he still can’t produce some projects. Wells and fellow producer Don Murphy (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) have announced that they are going to adapt an indie graphic novel called The Forgotten. The comic is published and co-created by Evan Young and Jareth Grealish and was unveiled in 2004 at the San Diego Comic-Con. The duo published a four-issue series and a collector’s edition over the last few years. It’s been described as having the feel of Memento and in the Philip K. Dick tradition. Read on for more details.

The Forgotten centers on a man who, no matter what he does or whom he meets, is forgotten five minutes later. While it gives him great power and leeway as far as investigations and problem-solving, it leaves him incredibly alone. When the son of a long-lost friend is charged wrongly with murder, he uses his powers to get to the bottom of a conspiracy. This reminds me of – and sounds like the opposite of – the film The Lookout from 2007, where Joseph Gordon-Levitt played a kid who didn’t have extended memory. It sounds like a cool concept and I think it could be translated into a great screen story on a fairly small budget.

With both John Wells and Don Murphy involved, this should certainly be a great project. No word on who is writing the adaptation or directing, but I’m sure we’ll hear more fairly soon. If you’re interested in picking up a copy of the comic to read, you can head over to their official website: forgottencomicbook.com.

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First Behind-the-Scenes Footage from Stallone’s Expendables

Posted: 28 Apr 2009 04:55 PM PDT

Expendables Explosion

Whoever is running the unofficial-looking official blog for Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables has just posted the first look at any real footage from the film. We’ve seen some photos, but now we get a quick glimpse at some of the action, including that explosion you see above (from a few weeks ago). Not that we’ve never seen Stallone firing guns before, but as always, it’s damn cool to see the behind-the-scenes action and get a sense of what it’s like on set while shooting. Hopefully there’s plenty more of this kind of footage on its way, as I’m itching for more. With that said, this isn’t much, but it is a cool little video, so check it out!

The Expendables is about a team of mercenaries who head to South America on a mission to overthrow a dictator. It stars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, and Charisma Carpenter. Stallone both wrote and is directing the film. We didn’t expect to have some footage this early, but I guess that’s what comes with the digital age, where video like this can be served up online in minutes. There is still a lot more we have yet to see from this, so whenever we have more exciting footage or photos from The Expendables, we’ll be sure to bring them right to you right away!

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Why Isn’t Jonathan Nolan Credited for Terminator Salvation?

Posted: 28 Apr 2009 04:10 PM PDT

Terminator Salvation - Credited Writers

Our friend Peter Sciretta at SlashFilm noticed earlier this week that Christopher Nolan’s brother Jonathan Nolan was missing from the credits block at the bottom of the official website for Terminator Salvation. He started doing some research and even ended up calling the Writer’s Guild today to try and get to the bottom of this story. If you went to the New York Comic-Con or WonderCon and saw McG talk, you’ll know that he always brings up the story about how they went to Jonathan Nolan and had him do some revisions to make the story good enough for Christian Bale. But if he did all that work, then why isn’t he credited?

If you look at the website or any of the final posters, you’ll see that only two writers are credited: John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris. These are the two guys who wrote Terminator 3 and wrote the very first draft of Terminator Salvation. Beyond that, we’ve only heard from McG himself that Jonathan Nolan and even Paul Haggis have potentially helped revise the script before shooting. We all know that McG talks a lot and most of the time he’s just blowing hot air, but I don’t think he’d lie about Jonathan Nolan, especially when his influence can even be felt in the trailers. So what exactly is going on here? Why isn’t he credited?

Well, most importantly, it’s about the WGA and the way they approve who gets a credit. Changes in dialogue, character, mood and tone are not necessarily considered big enough changes. Nolan would have had to change “51% or more of the story” to earn a credit. And because arbitration at the WGA is a political process and often disputed, it looks like Jonathan Nolan didn’t make the cut this time. That is, if we are to believe that Nolan did contribute enough. I, for one, do believe McG, and think Nolan did make a lot of revisions, but obviously we have yet to see just how many (and we won’t know until they screen it).

In an interview with Boxoffice Magazine earlier this month, McG admits that, “I never met Michael Ferris and John D. Brancato, who ultimately got credit, and I thought we changed the script a great deal.” He adds that, “it’s not like the Ferris and Brancato draft deserved that writing credit.” And that “I credit Jonah as the architect of the picture, and I’m certain Christian feels the same way. He represents the hard time on the ground in Albuquerque, N.M., when we shot the film and really got it going.” So what gives, WGA? Is Jonathan Nolan being robbed here? Or is there maybe more to this story than we actually know about?

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If There is Ever a Gremlins 3, Joe Dante Won’t Direct It

Posted: 28 Apr 2009 03:15 PM PDT

Gremlins - Joe Dante

More remake news, right, I know no one wants to hear it, but when it involves a franchise I love, I’ve got to say something. This is all just a rumor right now and nothing is confirmed, but we’ll let director Joe Dante himself explain (via Bloody Disgusting). “I find it hard to believe that they won’t make a Gremlins 3 because they’re remaking Adventures in Babysitting. I mean, they’re gonna remake everything.” He’s certainly right about that. And interestingly, the studios seem intent on returning to the original creators for franchises like this (just look at the Aliens news today). So why not one day bring back Joe Dante?

Interestingly, Dante seems to believe that they definitely won’t go back to him. “They did that once, they won’t do it again,” Dante laughingly told BD. “They made that mistake once. Its a moot point, they won’t be coming to me… I can tell you that for a fact.” The “they” he is talking about is Warner Brothers, who made the first two Gremlins movies. I’m confused, though, was Gremlins 2 considered a screw up? I don’t know about everyone else, but I love that movie. It’s not better than the original, but it’s absolutely ridiculous and fun. So while there aren’t plans for a Gremlins 3 right now, I’m sure there will be some soon enough.

Discover More: Movie News, Opinions, Rumors

Oliver Stone Back for Wall Street 2, Shia LaBeouf Also Joining?

Posted: 28 Apr 2009 02:56 PM PDT

Gordon Gekko

Considering originality is pretty much dead in Hollywood, most of the big news these days is related to sequels or remakes. We first wrote about Wall Street 2, which is appropriately perfect for our current economic situation, back in 2007 and again last year when Fox realized they better get this made sooner than later. At the time all we knew is that they’d hired a writer. Variety now confirms that Fox has secured Oliver Stone again to return to direct the sequel. Michael Douglas is already back as Gordon Gekko, and apparently Shia LaBeouf is in negotiations to star as well. You know, I can see him pulling this off.

Variety only says that the sequel will once again involve a young Wall Street trader (LaBeouf), and that the recent economic meltdown spurred by rampant greed and corruption will fit prominently into the plot. The most recent draft of the script was written by Allan Loeb (Things We Lost in the Fire, 21), who is also a licensed stock broker, which is hopefully a good thing. As far as we know, the story was supposed to involve Gekko getting out of jail in modern times and return to the stock market game with more sleazy plans. Fox still has this on the fast-track and is planning to shoot it sometime this summer, so expect more soon!

Discover More: Casting News, Movie News

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