Steven Spielberg Gets A Clue

by Kasey McDonald June 26, 2008 11:32 am
Steven Spielberg Gets A Clue

...or 39 of them. Spielberg's DreamWorks has acquired the rights to The 39 Clues, what Variety describes as "a multiplatform adventure series." As yet The 39 Clues is a 10-book series, the first of which, The Maze of Bones, will be released on September 9th of this year by Scholastic. The "multiplatform" part seems to include a set of collectible cards, an online game where young readers can try to solve a mystery for a $10,000 grand prize, and obviously, the Spielberg flick. Which, according to DreamWorks' co-chair, may not be the only one coming to the big screen. "There is enough material here for three or four movies," Stacey Snider told Variety, adding, "Steven is very involved and passionate. This excites me as an executive but also as a mother. It is an educational, challenging interactive experience that hits kids where they live." Ouch.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, August 14, 2012

by Ethan Alter August 14, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Now that the Olympics are over, check out the deadliest sporting event out (future) Earth.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, April 3, 2012

by Ethan Alter April 3, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A horse and his boy.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

by Ethan Alter March 13, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

No kids allowed...

<i>The Adventures of Tintin</i>: Mo-Cap Expert Jamie Beard Talks Animating Tintin

A movie literally decades in the making, The Adventures of Tintin began its trip to the big screen in 1983, when Steven Spielberg first reached out to Belgian comics artist Hergé about acquiring the film rights to his most famous creation, the intrepid journalist/adventurer Tintin. But for a variety of reasons, the project kept falling by the wayside, that is, until Spielberg teamed up with Peter Jackson in the wake of the New Zealand director's epic Lord of the Rings trilogy. Together, the duo decided that doing full justice to Hergé's comics meant eschewing a conventional live action adaptation in favor of the animation process known as motion capture, whereby live actors perform the characters on set and then computer animators translate their work onto digital models. Jamie Beard, a veteran employee of Jackson's New Zealand-based effects house Weta Digital, served as animation supervisor on The Adventures of Tintin and played a significant role in overseeing the design of the film's world and its characters. He spoke with us about bringing the motion capture Tintin (played by Jamie Bell) to life and why he sometimes made the actors walk on futon mattresses on set.

Big Budget Break Ups

by Tippi Blevins June 20, 2008 1:51 pm
Big Budget Break Ups Film industry relationships are complicated. Most relationships are, but at least with marriages and dating, we at least have some frame of reference. Our friends or family members have been through the same things we have, and can share their experiences with us. And if not, we can always watch the wack-jobs on Maury to make ourselves feel better. Let's look at the relationship troubles between DreamWorks SKG and Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures, as reported by Zap2it, in terms we might be able to relate to.

Lincoln: By the People, For the People

by Ethan Alter November 9, 2012 6:00 am
<i>Lincoln</i>: By the People, For the People

There are many different ways to approach a man who lived as monumental a life as Abraham Lincoln. You could, for instance, focus entirely on his early years as a lawyer as John Ford did in the 1939 classic, Young Mr. Lincoln. Or you could zero in on the Civil War, with Lincoln's life taking a backseat to the fighting. Or you could even turn him into a vampire hunter, using the supernatural as a metaphor for Lincoln's desire to see every individual freed from the bonds of slavery, be they property of plantation owners or bloodsuckers. In the case of Lincoln, Steven Spielberg's oh-so-prestigious entry in the awards season sweepstakes, the director telescopes his subject's life into roughly a single month: January 1865, when a newly re-elected Lincoln used his ferocious will and political capital to ensure the passage of the 13th Amendment, which officially outlawed slavery in the United States. That's right, in a way this is a live-action, feature-length version of that old Schoolhouse Rock ditty "I'm Just a Bill" (or it's even better Simpsons parody "Amendment to Be") where viewers are invited to watch the long, contentious and often ugly process of how the proverbial political sausage gets made in Washington.

The Adventures of Tintin: Raiders of the Lost Unicorn

by Ethan Alter December 21, 2011 6:00 am
<i>The Adventures of Tintin</i>: Raiders of the Lost Unicorn

There's a clever gag early on in The Adventures of Tintin that effectively passes the baton from the title character's comic-book origins in the 1930s to his 21st century incarnation as the hero of a lavish animated blockbuster. In the scene, investigative journalist/globetrotting adventurer Tintin (played here by Jamie Bell via the magic of motion capture technology) is sitting with his back to the audience, having his picture drawn by a flea market street artist. The illustrator puts the finishing touches on the portrait and hands it over to his subject, saying proudly, "I think I've captured your likeness." With that, Tintin turns towards the camera and we see the character's past and present in the same frame. On the canvas is a sketch of Tintin as Belgian artist Hergé first drew him all those years ago. Next to that is the version of the character the animators at Weta Digital -- the New Zealand effects house operated by Peter Jackson, one of the primary creative forces behind this new movie, along with its director Steven Spielberg -- have come up with. While these two faces aren't precisely mirror images of each other, the mo-cap figure is still recognizably Tintin. In a single shot, the filmmakers convincingly lift this iconic character off the two-dimensional comics page and turn him into a walking, talking movie star.



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