January 12, 2014 |
It's always a B-film bonanza when Greek myth meets Hollywood high-tech. 'Twas ever thus, since Jason and his Argonauts sailed Ray Harryhausen's wine-dark seas through the kraken's release in Clash of the Titans . Do not the gods deserve the best special effects we can lavish upon them? By Hera's hairy lip, they do! They also probably deserve a cohesive plot and dialogue that clarifies rather than confuses, but in The Legend of Hercules , they'll have to settle just for the special effects.
May 8, 2013
Ray Harryhausen, 92, a special-effects titan who at age 13 was so overwhelmed by King Kong that he vowed he would grow up to create otherworldly creatures on film, died Tuesday at London's Hammersmith Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment for about a week for an undisclosed ailment. Though little known by the general public, Mr. Harryhausen, who was born in Los Angeles but lived in London from 1960 until his death, made 17 movies that are cherished by devotees of film fantasy.
February 25, 2013
Petro Vlahos, 96, whose work took movie viewers to a spectacular chariot race in Ben-Hur and let Dick Van Dyke dance among penguins in Mary Poppins , died Feb. 10, his family announced. No other details were released. Mr. Vlahos laid the groundwork that made a modern movie genre - the blockbuster - possible. He did it by vastly improving a composite-image process commonly known as the "blue-screen effect. " By devising new ways to combine separately shot footage of actors and backgrounds into a single scene, he opened the door to such spectaculars as Star Wars and Titanic.
February 16, 2013 |
Reprinted from Thursday's edition. There is no Starbucks in sleepy Gatlin, S.C., laments young Ethan Wate, so it's completely understandable that he wants out. High school is a drag, too, and the sole movie theater can't even get the titles right on its marquee. But then Lena Duchannes, glamorously Goth, moves into town, and Ethan's world is upended. It's as if a spell had been cast, which, in the over-the-top supernatural teen romance Beautiful Creatures , isn't that surprising.
August 11, 2012
Special-effects master and three-time Oscar winner Carlo Rambaldi, 86, died Friday in Italy after a long illness, Italian news media reported. Mr. Rambaldi was known as the father of E.T. He won visual effects Oscars for Steven Spielberg's 1982 extraterrestrial hit, as well as Ridley Scott's film Alien in 1979, and John Guillermin's King Kong in 1976. Mr. Rambaldi worked on more than 30 films, but was best known for his work on E.T. , for which he created three robots, two costumes worn by actors in the scenes when E.T. walked, and gloves for the hands.
April 24, 2012 |
The new Broadway musical "Ghost the Musical," modeled on the hit 1990 movie about a young banker who is murdered but whose spirit sticks around to keep his girlfriend from harm, is an astounding marriage of live theater and high-tech. The musical opened last summer in London and on Monday night on Broadway, where it packs a wallop for its blend of recorded and special effects with real action — in this case full-wall projections by Jon Driscoll that double or triple the cast with silhouettes that move, or filmed subways inhabited by real actors, or filmed backdrops that depict a frantic New York.
June 4, 2010
THE FOLKS over at the Razzie awards will be examining the new DVD of "Wolfman," and you can anticipate nominations for Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro. Both men find themselves in hairy situations, but the scariest thing in the movie is the acting - Del Toro's miserable, mumbling hero and Hopkins' homicidal aristocrat, Hannibal Lecter with Rogaine. Also scary, the DVD special features include "extended" scenes, offering more of same. On a brighter note, Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" arrives.
February 12, 2010 |
A youth learns by accident that he possesses extraordinary powers, is dispatched to a special academy for those of his kind, and undertakes a quest with his two best buds to defeat the dark powers. Luke Skywalker? Harry Potter? Guess again: Percy Jackson, archetypal hero for the modern, emo middle schooler. Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is a loser. Because he has dyslexia, the question on the blackboard is too hard to decipher. Because he has ADHD, he can't focus. And because he has an abusive stepfather, Percy can't bear to be at home.
February 11, 2010 |
You may find it hard to distinguish the howls of the beast from the howls of the audience in "The Wolfman. " There are a lot more laughs than scares in this inadvertently campy debacle, a thoroughly botched attempt by Universal to leverage one of its classic horror brands. Everything is bad - the awful script, Joe Johnston's un-atmospheric direction, and the acting, which contains enough ham to meet the protein needs of an entire pack of wolfmen. Benicio Del Toro stars as Lawrence, estranged son of a Victorian aristocrat (Anthony Hopkins)
August 6, 2009 |
Get set to salivate. Julie & Julia , a film that pairs the true tales of Julia Child, who brought French cooking to American kitchens in 1961, and Julie Powell, a Queens nobody who hit the celebrity jackpot by emulating Child 40 years later, opens tomorrow. The film stars Meryl Streep as the high-pitched Child, who died in 2004 at 91; Amy Adams as the adorably squeamish Powell; and one close-up after another of food, glorious food. Tight shots of crisp bruschetta reveal tomatoes at their juiciest (see recipe)