New 'Real Steel' Trailer

“Set in the near-future, where the sport of boxing has gone hi-tech, REAL STEEL stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring.
Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next.
When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the brutal, no-holds-barred arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback.”

Also starring:  Anthony Mackie , Evangeline Lilly, Hope Davis, and Kevin Durand
Directed by Shawn Levy from a screenplay by John Gatins, Dan Gilroy,  and
Jeremy Leven. Based on Richard Matheson’s classic SF story Steel.  (Previously adapted as an episode of THE TWILGHT ZONE).
Due in theaters October 7th from Dreamworks SKG and Walt Disney Pictures. Rated PG-13.
(Via The Movie Reel and Yahoo)

Zemeckis Back To The Future/Past?

back-to-the-future_1Deadline reports that Robert Zemeckis (BACK TO THE FUTURE) is possibly returning to the live action movie arena, with a new science fiction project for Warners Brothers Pictures called TIMELESS. 
It’s a time-travel story by Mike Thompson (DRAGONFLY), who created the Sci-Fi Channel show JOHN DOE. It’s being pitched as a “tentpole” picture, to be produced by Zemeckis’ ImageMovers, where he is currently directing the new 3-D animated version of YELLOW SUBMARINE.
The article implies he will also be directing TIMELESS, and mentions that he’s yet another director possiblity Warners is considering for their SUPERMAN reboot.

Back to the Future 25th Anniversary set coming to Blu-ray and DVD

back to futureOn October 26, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will release a 25th anniversary box set of the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy on Blu-ray and DVD, featuring transfers of newly restored prints and over two hours of bonus material. This represents the Blu-ray debut of the three blockbuster time travel films, starring Matthew J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, and directed by Robert Zemeckis. (A “Complete Trilogy” set was previously released on DVD in widescreen and full screen editions.)
Check out the press release below:

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA. – At 88 miles per hour, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd took millions of spellbound viewers on a high-flying voyage across the space-time continuum in a trio of wildly inventive tales that broke box-office records around the world. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Academy Award®-winning cinematic franchise that generated nearly one billion dollars worldwide, the Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Trilogy will debut on Blu-rayTM on October 26, 2010 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The 25th Anniversary Trilogy will also be available on DVD.
Now, for the first time ever, the past, present and future collide in eye-popping high definition for a time-traveling celebration featuring new 25th Anniversary restorations for perfect picture and the purest digital sound. More than two hours of all new bonus features have been added, including an all-new, six-part retrospective documentary featuring never-before-seen interviews with the cast, crew and filmmakers, including Michael J. Fox, for the definitive Back to the Future experience.
On October 26, 1985, Marty McFly took the driver’s seat in Dr. Emmet Brown’s DeLorean and introduced audiences to Back to the Future, a journey that launched a new era of moviemaking magic and reinvented the adventure-comedy genre. The film, which spent 11 weeks at #1 at the U.S. box office, boasts a legendary Hollywood pedigree that includes director Robert Zemeckis, executive producers Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy, producer and screenwriter Bob Gale and producer Neil Canton. Accompanying Fox and Lloyd on their warp-speed tour of McFly family history are an array of stars including Lea Thompson (“Caroline in the City”), Crispin Glover (Hot Tub Time Machine), Thomas F. Wilson (“Big Love”), Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas), Billy Zane (Titanic), Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Mary Steenburgen (The Proposal) as well as 1980s musical icons Huey Lewis and ZZ Top.
BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAYTM: Unleash the power of your HDTV with perfect picture and the purest digital sound available.

  • U-CONTROL: Universal’s exclusive signature feature allows viewers to learn more about their favorite film without ever leaving the movie.
  • Setups & Payoffs: As you watch each of the three films, each “set up” showcases items in the scene that prepare you for a future plot point. When you get to that moment in the film, the “payoff” is shown to complete the correlation.
  • Storyboard Comparison: Compare key scenes in the movie with the original storyboards.
  • Trivia Track: Get inside trivia and facts while you watch the movies.
  • BD-LIVETM: Access the BD-LiveTM Center through your Internet-connected player to get even more content, watch the latest trailers and more!
  • My Scenes: Bookmark your favorite scenes from the movies.
  • pocket BLU™: USHE’s groundbreaking pocket BLU app uses iPhone®, iPod® touch, iPad®, Blackberry®, Android™, Windows and Macintosh computers and more to work seamlessly with a network-connected Blu-rayTM player and offers advanced features such as:
  • Advanced Remote Control: A sleek, elegant new way to operate your Blu-ray™ player. Users can navigate through menus, playback and BD-Live™ functions with ease.
  • Video Timeline: Users can easily bring up the video timeline, allowing them to instantly access any point in their favorite episode.
  • Mobile-To-Go: Users can unlock a selection of bonus content with their Blu-ray™ discs to save to their device or to stream from anywhere there’s a Wi-Fi network, enabling them to enjoy exclusive content on the go, anytime, anywhere.
  • Browse Titles: Users will have access to a complete list of pocket BLU™-enabled titles available and coming to Blu-ray™. They can view free previews and see what additional content is available to unlock on their device.
  • Keyboard: Enter data into a Blu-ray™ player with your device’s easy and intuitive keyboard.
  • Archival Featurette Back to the Future Night: Hosted by Leslie Nielson, this original 30-minute special aired on NBC prior to the first television screening of the Back to the Future.

BLU-RAYTM AND DVD BONUS FEATURES

  • Tales from the Future: New six-part retrospective documentary featuring interviews with Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Director Robert Zemeckis, Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton, plus Executive Producer Steven Spielberg.*
  • In the Beginning . . .: Delve into the genesis of the project, casting, re-casting, the DeLorean, sets and overall pre-production.
  • Time to Go: Production stories through the release of the first film.
  • Keeping Time: The score and the songs of the Back to the Future Trilogy.
  • Time Flies: Learn more about how the sequel came about, the futuristic look, the special and visual effects, recreating 1955 and more.
  • Third Time’s the Charm: Learn about building a western town, Doc Brown’s love story, the casting of Mary Steenburgen, the train sequence and completing the Trilogy.
  • The Test of Time: Back to the Future becomes a phenomenon! President Reagan quotes the film, the Back to the Future ride opens at Universal Studios theme park and fans rebuild the iconic DeLorean. The film’s cast and crew take a look back and discuss why these beloved movies live on.
  • The Physics of Back To The Future: A discussion with celebrity best-selling author and physicist Dr. Michio Kaku about the overall appreciation of the science in the Back to the Future Trilogy*
  • Nuclear Test Site Ending Storyboard Sequence: Storyboard sequence of the original proposed ending of the film.*
  • 16 Deleted Scenes
  • Michael J. Fox Q&A
  • Q&A Commentaries with Director Robert Zemeckis and Producer Bob Gale
  • Feature Commentaries with Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton
  • Archival Featurettes
  • Making the Trilogy: Chapters One, Two & Three: Original 2002 DVD documentary that takes a look back in time.
  • The Making Of Back to the Future Part I, II & III: Provides a vintage and historic first look at the making of all three films.
  • The Secrets of the Back to the Future Trilogy: a televised special hosted by Kirk Cameron addressing fans unanswered Back to the Future questions.
  • Behind-the-Scenes
  • Outtakes
  • Original Makeup Tests
  • Production Design
  • Storyboarding
  • Designing the DeLorean
  • Designing Time Travel
  • Hoverboard Test
  • Designing Hill Valley
  • Designing the Campaign
  • Back to the Future: The Ride
  • Music Videos:
  • Huey Lewis and the News “Power of Love”
  • ZZ Top “DoubleBack”
  • Photo Galleries, Including Production Art, Additional Storyboards, Photographs, Marketing Materials and Character Portraits
  • Theatrical Trailers

* Denotes new footage debuting on the 25th Anniversary Trilogy
TECHNICAL INFORMATION BLU-RAY™:

  • Street Date: October 26, 2010
  • Copyright: 2010 Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Selection Number: 61112394
  • Layers: BD-50
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen, 1.85:1
  • Rating: PG
  • Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
  • Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish DTS Surround 5.1, French DTS Surround 5.1
  • Run Time: Back To The Future – 1 hour, 56 minutes
  • Back To The Future II – 1 hour, 48 minutes
  • Back To The Future III – 1 hour, 58 minutes

TECHNICAL INFORMATION DVD

  • Street Date: October 26, 2010
  • Copyright: 2010 Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Selection Number: 61114696
  • Layers: Dual
  • Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.85:1
  • Rating: PG
  • Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
  • Sound: English Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Run Time: Back To The Future – 1 hour, 56 minutes
  • Back To The Future II – 1 hour, 48 minutes
  • Back To The Future III – 1 hour, 58 minutes

[serialposts]

Zemeckis to helm Disney family-fantasy film Dark Life

Dark LifeVariety is reporting that director Robert Zemeckis (BACK TO THE FUTURE) is planning to help Walt Disney Studios launch a family-friendly fantasy franchise, based on the young adult novel DARK LIFE.

Zemeckis, Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey will produce through ImageMovers with Jackie Levine shepherding the project for the shingle. Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Lee Stollman will produce through Gotham.

Whether the film will be produced using Zemeckis’ favored performance-capture process has yet to be determined. In a cost-cutting move, Disney last month said it will pull the plug on ImageMovers Digital, based in Marin County, Calif., by the end of the year once “Mars Needs Moms” wraps. The facility produced the performance-capture work on “The Polar Express,” “Beowulf” and “A Christmas Carol.”

The story is set in the near future, when the ocean level has risen so high that many people make their homes beneath the waves. Lead characters include a teenage boy who falls for a girl on the surface; the two team up to battle a government conspiracy.

Zemeckis’s ImageMovers is also developing Disney’s remake of YELLOW SUBMARINE, plus AIRMAN (based on a children’s book by Eoin Colfer) and THE STONEHEART TRILOGY, another young-adult fantasy, this one derived from a series by Charlie Fletcher.

Beowulf (2007) – Film & DVD Review

This retelling of the epic poem about a monster-slaying hero unites computer-generated imagery with live-action performances through the magic of motion-capture. Unfortunately, the marriage breeds a bizarre hybrid, as strange (if not quite as ghastly) as the half-human, half-demon Grendel that haunts the first act. Like that hideous monster, BEOWULF is an almost inexplicable mutant mishap,  as if the genetic synthesis combined – and somehow magnified – the worst rather than the best of both parents. The background designs are beautiful; the creatures are imaginatively conceived; the human characters are rendered in fine detail and enacted with spirited performances. And yet, the result is artificial and unconvincing, with all the life of a perfectly preserved corpse manipulated by marionette strings: no matter how deft the performer, no matter how elaborate the movments, what we are watching looks dead.
Read More

The Polar Express (2004)

THE POLAR EXPRESS wants to be a whimsical Christmas fantasy, but the spirit of Christmas gets taken for a ride and pummeled by a series of pointless action scenes that pad the running time while adding nothing to the story. The basic idea is simple: A young boy has reached the age when he’s beginning to doubt the existence of Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, the Polar Express shows up at his door and takes him to the North Pole, where he meets Mr. C and learns to believe again. That’s pretty much the entire story. With clever writing, it might have made a half-hour television special, but there is no plot, no complications, nothing else on which to build a theatrical film. So the only way to stretch the feeble narrative to feature length is with gratuitous visual filler: the kid gets on top of the train as it’s about to go into a tunnel; he gets in front of the train as it’s about to go down a steep incline; the train nearly crashes on an ice lake. And the list goes on.
What truly kills the film is its lifeless character animation. The very first shot, with the un-named boy waking in bed, is supposed to be a magical moment of anticipation on Christmas Eve. Instead, when his eyes open, it feels as if you’re watching RESIDENT EVIL 3: ZOMBIE CHRISTMAS.
Sadly, that sets the tone for the whole film. The characters look weird or just plain bad, and the attempt at life-like computer imagery (using motion capture of real actors? performances) only emphasizes the artificiality of their facial expression. It’s like watching a film full of automatons pretending to be human and falling horribly short.
The computer animation is considerably more successful at rendering the titular train. Viewed as isolated set pieces, the action sequences are technically impressive, even if their inclusion works to undermine the Christmas spirit the film wants to engender.


In other cases, the technical wiz-bang is self-defeating, as when the train?s conductor serves the kids hot chocolate in a song-and-dance sequence that might have been breath-taking in live-action but which just looks cartoony and overdone in CGI. To overstate the obvious, seeing live performers dance up the walls and do back flips down the aisle would be impressive because it seems physically impossible; watching CGI characters perform the same actions is ho-hum, because doing the impossible is more or less par for the course.
On the plus side, the computer-generated imagery creates some beautiful backgrounds, especially for the North Pole sequence near the end, and one or two of the action scenes manage to be halfway exciting. The only real Christmas sentiment comes at the beginning and end, and it’s just enough to make you wish the whole film had sustained that kind of sentiment.
If you want a really wonderful Christmas movie for your family, rent THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS or any version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL or even THE SANTA CLAUS. Don’t, whatever you do, climb on board THE POLAR EXPRESS.

Meeting Santa Claus at the North Pole

THE POLAR EXPRESS (2004). Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Written by Robert Zemeckis & William Broyles, Jr., from the book by Chris Van Allsburg. Voices: Tom Hanks, Leslie Harter Zemeckis, Eddie Deezen, Nona M. Gaye, Peter Scolari.
RELATED REVIEW: Beowulf (2007)