Recent Entries in Film

  Actress Sandra Dee dies

Sandra Dee, the actress who brought teenage life to the silver screen in the 1960s and was married to pop singer Bobby Darin, died early Sunday morning, at age 62.

Dee died of complications from kidney disease after nearly two weeks in a California hospital, a family friend told the Associated Press. Steve Blauner said Dee had been on dialysis for about four years.

CBC Arts: Actress Sandra Dee dies

  Hunter S. Thompson dies

Hunter S. Thompson, the U.S. writer who pioneered the super-subjective form of journalism known as "gonzo," has killed himself, his son said.

In a statement released to the Aspen Daily News, Juan Thompson said his father shot himself to death in his home in Aspen, Colo., on Sunday night. He was 67.

CBC Arts: Hunter S. Thompson dies

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey sued Blockbuster Inc. Friday, claiming the video rental chain is deceiving customers with its new 'No More Late Fees' rental policy.

The lawsuit accused the movie rental chain of deceptive advertising and violating the state's consumer fraud laws.

"Blockbuster boldly announced its 'No More Late Fees' policy, but has not told customers about the big fees they are charged if they keep videos or games for more than a week after they are due," the attorney general said in a statement.

N.J. to hit Blockbuster with fraud lawsuit? - Feb. 18, 2005

Hollywood heart-throb Leonardo DiCaprio is stunned to have received a lifetime achievement award - because he's only 30.

The Titanic star was presented the Platinum Award at the Santa Barbara, California's International Film Festival on Sunday, commemorating the event's 20th anniversary and recognising the actor's "exceptional career", according to festival director Roger Durling.

IOL: DiCaprio finds award 'surreal'

Michael Moore, the controversial documentary filmmaker, has himself become the subject of a documentary.

Called This Divided State, the film tells the story of Moore's visit to the campus of Utah Valley State College last October.

CBC Arts: Michael Moore inspires documentary

Dan Lee, the Canadian animator who designed the character of Nemo for the blockbuster Pixar film Finding Nemo, has died of cancer. He was 35.

Lee died Jan. 15 at the Alta Bates Summit Hospital in Berkeley, Calif., where he had moved to pursue his animation career. Though he was a non-smoker, Lee had been diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2003.

CBC Arts: Canadian creator of Pixar's Nemo dies

Organizers of a Dutch film festival cancelled a weekend screening of Submission by slain filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

Column Productions, which holds the rights to the film, said only that the screening at the Rotterdam Film Festival had been cancelled "on the basis of security concerns."

"We can say nothing more about the nature of this case, apart from saying that we have been advised to be careful with screenings like the one intended in Rotterdam," the company said in a statement.

CBC Arts: Security worries nix screening of van Gogh film

While Tuesday's Oscar nomination announcement confirmed the close race that many critics and Hollywood insiders had expected, some surprises emerged as well.

CBC News: Fahrenheit 9/11 among those snubbed by Oscar

The entertainment industry has rounded up dozens of allies to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to hold internet file-trading services responsible when users copy songs and movies without permission.

The U.S. government, 40 states and territories, and outside groups from the National Football League to the Christian Coalition of America asked the Supreme Court on Monday to hold services like Grokster and Morpheus accountable for the millions of copyright files traded over their networks.

Wired News: Hollywood Ready for P2P Showdown


What a cool looking company. Apparently Sean Astin works here, along with that guy from "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". I just got to get me one of these little gadgets.


The web film is dead! Long live films on the web!

That's one way to read a shift in strategy by the Sundance Online Film Festival, or SOFF, which launches Thursday. Created in 2001, the festival's initial mission was to nurture the web-only movie, which the Sundance programming team predicted would become an art form unto itself.

Wired News: Sundance Online Adjusts Focus

Amrish Puri, the veteran Bollywood actor best known to western audiences for his role as the villainous cult leader in Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, died of a brain hemorrhage Wednesday morning at a hospital in Mumbai. He was 72.

Born in 1932, Puri was a theatre and radio actor before beginning his movie career in his late 30s with the love story Reshma aur Shera (Reshma and Shera).

CBC News: Bollywood actor Amrish Puri dies

  The Call of Cthulhu

The HPLHS is currently in production of a short film adaptation of Lovecraft's most famous story, "The Call of Cthulhu." With a cast of over 50 people, it is to be a faithful period adaptation of the story, done in the style of a 1920s silent movie, the way it might have been done if it had been done when he wrote it.

Movie Info

Based on Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Howl's Moving Castle follows the story of young Sophie Hatter, a bookworm, the eldest of three daughters, a girl doomed to an uninteresting life as a hat maker. Sophie resigns herself to her boring fate, but fate has other plans for her. Cursed by the Witch of the Waste with the body of a 90-year-old woman, she finds her way to the moving castle inhabited by the wizard Howl, said by all to eat the souls of young girls.

Howl has been cursed by the Witch as well, and is seeking the love of young girl to help him break the curse. The book has enchanted readers of all ages for nearly 20 years, and the film is set to be released on November 20, 2004 in Toho theaters across Japan (see the FAQ for other release dates).

Howl's Moving Castle //

"I'm going to make the movie regardless of whether you want to or not," Clint Eastwood told the suits at Warner Bros., when they balked at financing "Million Dollar Baby." They'd read the screenplay, Eastwood recalls, and they said "we don't think boxing movies are very popular right now." You can imagine Eastwood's eyes narrowing as he responded, "This to me is not a boxing movie. It's about hopes and dreams, and a love story."

:: :: essays

Perhaps the highest praise I can give to Chas Balun is that without him, there almost assuredly would have never been a Horror Geek. Between Balun and Joe Bob Briggs (a.k.a. John Bloom), I learned at an early age that it was not only okay to love obscure movies designed to titillate and gross-out an audience, but that I could love them and explain why they were so wonderful without sounding like an idiot in the process. Over the years, the influences on my writing have grown almost exponentially, but it always comes back to one simple fact -- without Chas Balun both I and a lot of other guys making a living covering cult cinema wouldn't have a job.

FilmForce: The Horror Geek Speaks: The Bookshelf

To say that James Cameron is an avid fan of 3-D technology might be an understatement. The venerable director / producer / screenwriter / explorer has now directed three films that utilize the cutting edge of 3-D (or what Cameron refers to as "Stereo") cinematic technology. In fact, Cameron is perhaps the one director who is helping to spearhead revolutions in the field.

Cameron first tinkered with 3-D on T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, the film/ride he created for Universal Studios theme parks. His two most recent projects, 2003's Ghosts of the Abyss and the forthcoming Aliens of the Deep, both took advantage of the improvements in 3-D or Stereo technology. But there's still a ways to go and Cameron is leading the charge. After having spent the past several years on the aforementioned IMAX documentaries, Cameron is jumping back into the feature film world with Battle Angel. While not much is being leaked about the film, it will feature the latest Stereo imaging, according to Cameron.

FilmForce: James Cameron Talks Battle Angel

For a century, moving images have been captivating millions around the world. Yet many of the attractions which bring people into cinema theatres and, more recently, which fix their eyes to television screens for hours on end, are only illusions. We say "movies" but no movement exists in film -- it is produced in the spectator's mind. The mechanics of this illusion is explained today with reference to two optical phenomena: The persistence of vision, described theoretically by Peter Mark Roget in 1824, and the so-called phi-phenomenon, also known as "stroboscopic effect," discovered by the gestalt psychologist Max Wertheimer.

These two effects permit the human brain to perceive a series of related static images (more precisely, motion phases) as a continuous motion. It is this illusion that permits the existence of moving pictures and, more recently, television. Unlike the motion pictures, which need only the illusion of motion, the electronic images of television and video create both the illusion of motion and image. These illusions are the sine qua non prerequisite of the audiovisual media. Without them, they would not exist. Yet they are not the only illusions which the film and television media produce.

Film's Illusions: Kuleshov Revisited

In addition to their focus on a well-told story over a star-studded, a-list cast, an article in the New York Times, A Part-Human, Part-Cartoon Species, illustrates why Pixar's latest film, The Incredibles, aesthetically rises above the rest of Hollywood's 3D animated fare.

The article discusses director Brad Bird's dedication to refining the look and movement of the movie's characters to be, ultimately, cartoonish in nature. One of the reasons I don't like Shrek is that the human characters have no, well, character to them. They look too human, and not like cartoons at all, and so have a stiff, "dead doll" quality to them. The same goes for the human characters in the Toy Story movies. Pixar and the Uncanny Valley

Japanese roboticist Doctor Masahiro Mori is not exactly a household name -- but, for the speculative fiction community at least, he could prove to be an important one. The reason why can be summed up in a simple, strangely elegant phrase that translates into English as "the uncanny valley".
Though originally intended to provide an insight into human psychological reaction to robotic design, the concept expressed by this phrase is equally applicable to interactions with nearly any nonhuman entity. Stated simply, the idea is that if one were to plot emotional response against similarity to human appearance and movement, the curve is not a sure, steady upward trend. Instead, there is a peak shortly before one reaches a completely human "look" . . . but then a deep chasm plunges below neutrality into a strongly negative response before rebounding to a second peak where resemblance to humanity is complete.
This chasm -- the uncanny valley of Doctor Mori's thesis -- represents the point at which a person observing the creature or object in question sees something that is nearly human, but just enough off-kilter to seem eerie or disquieting. The first peak, moreover, is where that same individual would see something that is human enough to arouse some empathy, yet at the same time is clearly enough not human to avoid the sense of wrongness. The slope leading up to this first peak is a province of relative emotional detachment -- affection, perhaps, but rarely more than that.

The Uncanny Valley

  Gangbang The Musical


Leave it up to Canadians to come up with this one. A mocumentary about the world's first musical porno. Hosted on the CBC site no less!


  Uncanny Valley

Although originally applied only to robotics, the principle has been applied to computer animation characters. The Uncanny Valley was considered by some to be the reason behind the difficulty in creating computer-animated characters. Critics of computer animated films sometimes invoke the Uncanny Valley when explaining their dislike for a particular film. The principle leads to the conclusion that to generate a positive emotional response in human beings, it is often better to include fewer human characteristics in the entity, lest it fall into the Uncanny Valley. Critics argue, however, that there has been no evidence in animation or filmmaking for the existence of the Uncanny Valley, even though movie effects have gradually developed to the point when humans are digitally rendered realistically and without evoking negative emotions from the viewers. Proponents of this view argue that nowhere between 1970s and 2000s have moviemakers actually faced the challenge of the Valley.

Uncanny Valley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The thing that often derails the picture, though, is its unintentional eeriness.

Blame the computer animation. It makes the characters look like they've had too many injections of Botox. Their faces remind you of mannequins' faces at their creepiest.

That's "Twilight Zone" creepy, and that is something you do not want running through a fuzzy children's movie unless you are targeting children drawn to the lurid side of life.

(Those same kids will enjoy shuddering during the film's brief puppet-attack sequence. Your kids may not.)

The characters' garish faces prove consistently distracting and often break the movie's spell. A couple are more user-friendly than others. At the end, even the most frozen-in-place faces -- Santa's being the exception -- display more emotion and less plasticity.

But ghoulish is ghoulish.

Alameda Times-Star Online - Bay Area Living

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