ang lee

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny  the sequel to the original award-winning film returns to Netflix. The sequel is loosely connected to the film due to its focus on Michelle Yeoh‘s character Yu Shu Lien.  The plot, at this point, looks entirely standalone, but promises another eye-dazzling, high-flying, fantasy-tinged martial arts epic set in the same world as the first film.  Check out  the trailer for the film below.

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*** Warning: Spoilers For Films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Follow ***

I need to get this out of the way up front: I’m not a “comic book guy”.

That’s probably weird for you to read, as this site is called Nerd Bastards” after all; complete with a smattering of classic funny books comprising the logo alongside what appears to be a homeless man who mugged Darth Vader for his Camel Lights (doesn’t that dude have asthma?). The truth is: I’m pretty much a strict “cinephile”, my education (formal and otherwise) rooted in both classic and contemporary film history. That’s not to say I’m a complete ignoramus when it comes to comics. I collected when I was a kid, frequenting my local shop at least once a week, hooked on the books  whose stories fascinated me. It’s just that this main vein habit didn’t follow me into adulthood like cinema did — a hobby that I chose to turn into a career of sorts.

I don’t bring this fact up to distance myself from the NB audience; more to illustrate that I probably view the films adapted from the stories they so love through a different prism. Where they’re looking for consistency of character and adherence to the established mythologies, I’m motly hoping to sit down with a (hopefully more than) competently constructed work of filmic language that not only brings our diligent defenders to life, but does so with a focus on pleasing more than just the established fan base. In no way is one method of evaluation better than the other — it’s just a different value system with which to rate a specific subsection of the form. To be honest, the best critics of “comic book cinema” are those who can do both, dropping knowledge about the “mis-en-scène” as easily as they can break down why this particular iteration of Captain America is the most faithful to its four-color creators. I strive to do both, but my limitations with the source material keep me from going full-blown FilmCritHulk most of the time.

To wit, I introduce to you my very own take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At this point in the sprawling franchise’s history, everybody seems to have their own personal rankings of the films leading up to and beyond Joss Whedon’s AvengersAs much as the snobbier cinema goers would like “comic book filmmaking” to evaporate completely into the ether, it’s time to start recognizing that the genre is far too profitable to disappear anytime soon. These movies need to be treated like bona fide works of art and evaluated as such, so I present my own personal, cinephilic take on the MCU, from worst to best…

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Nerdy flicks didn’t get much love for this Sunday’s Oscars, but nerd love is implied when the Saturn Awards nominations are announced. Of course this is an award specifically designed and set-up to celebrate achievement in sci-fi, fantasy, action and horror, but maybe we’ll just take what we can get.

In the film categories, the winner was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The first chapter in Peter Jackson‘s prequel opus is the easy front-runner with a total of nine nominations, including Best Fantasy Film, Best Direction for Jackson, and Best Actor for Martin Freeman. The Hobbit will face off against Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi, which also scored a Best Fantasy Film nomination as well as a Best Performance by a Younger Actor nomination for star Suraj Sharma, as well as seven others nods for a total of eight. Coming in third was the 23rd James Bond movie Skyfall, which was nominated Best Action/Adventure film as well as additional nods in acting categories for Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Judi Dench. In all, Skyfall received seven Saturn nominations followed closely by dualling superhero flicks The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises with six apiece.

In TV, the dearly departed Fringe was the big winner with six nominations including Best Network Series and acting nods for series stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble. Serial killer drama Dexter secured five nods, including acting noms for star Michael C. Hall and guest stars Ray Stevenson and Yvonne Strahovski. And it’s a three-way tie for third with Breaking Bad, Revolution and The Walking Dead each nabbing four nominations.

For the complete list of categories and nominees scroll down. As to when the hardware will be handed out, that’s TBA.

Best Science Fiction Film

Marvel’s The Avengers (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Chronicle (20th Century Fox)
Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros.)
The Hunger Games (Summit / Lionsgate)
Looper (Sony Pictures)
Prometheus (20th Century Fox)

Best Fantasy Film

The Amazing Spider-Man (Sony Pictures)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Ruby Sparks (Fox Searchlight)
Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal)
Ted (Universal)

Best Horror/Thriller Film

Argo (Warner Bros.)
The Cabin in the Woods (Lionsgate)
The Impossible (Summit / Lionsgate)
Seven Psychopaths (CBS Films)
The Woman in Black (CBS Films)
Zero Dark Thirty (Sony Pictures)

Best Action/Adventure Film

The Bourne Legacy (Universal)
The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.)
Django Unchained (The Weinstein Co.)
Les Miserables (Universal)
Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Taken 2 (20th Century Fox)

Best Independent Film Release

Compliance (Magnolia)
Hitchcock Fox (Searchlight)
Killer Joe LD (Entertainment)
The Paperboy (Millennium)
Robot and Frank (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Safety Not Guaranteed (FilmDistrict)
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Focus Features)

Best International Film

Anna Karenina (Focus Features)
Chicken With Plums (Sony Pictures Classics)
The Fairy (Kino Lorber)
Headhunters (Magnolia)
My Way Well (Go USA)
Pusher (Radius)

Best Animated Film

Brave (Pixar / Walt Disney Studios)
Frankenweenie (Walt Disney Studios)
ParaNorman (Focus Features)
Wreck-It Ralph (Walt Disney Studios)

Best Actor

Christian Bale, The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.)
Daniel Craig, Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Martin Freeman, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables (Universal)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Looper (Sony Pictures)
Matthew McConaughey, Killer Joe (LD Entertainment)

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty (20th Century Fox)
Ann Dowd, Compliance (Magnolia)
Zoe Kazan, Ruby Sparks (Fox Searchlight)
Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games (Summit / Lionsgate)
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock (Fox Searchlight)
Naomi Watts, The Impossible (Summit / Lionsgate)

Best Supporting Actor

Javier Bardem, Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Michael Fassbender, Prometheus (20th Century Fox)
Clark Gregg, Marvel’s The Avengers (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.)
Ian McKellen, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained (The Weinstein Co.)

Best Supporting Actress

Judi Dench, Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Gina Gershon, Killer Joe (LD Entertainment)
Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.)
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables (Universal)
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy (Millennium)
Charlize Theron, Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal)

Best Performance By a Younger Actor

CJ Adams, The Odd Life of Timothy Green (Walt Disney Studios)
Tom Holland, The Impossible (Summit / Lionsgate)
Daniel Huttlestone, Les Miserables (Universal)
Chloe Grace Moretz, Dark Shadows (Warner Bros.)
Suraj Sharma, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild (Fox Searchlight)

Best Direction

William Friedkin, Killer Joe (LD Entertainment)
Peter Jackson, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Rian Johnson, Looper (Sony Pictures)
Ang Lee, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.)
Joss Whedon, Marvel’s The Avengers (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)

Best Writing

Tracy Letts, Killer Joe (LD Entertainment)
David Magee, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths (CBS Films)
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained (The Weinstein Co.)
Joss Whedon, Marvel’s The Avengers (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard, The Cabin in the Woods (Lionsgate)

Best Production Design

Hugh Bateup, Uli Hanisch, Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros.)
Sarah Greenwood, Anna Karenina (Focus Features)
David Gropman, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Rick Heinrichs, Dark Shadows (Warner Bros.)
Dan Hennah, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Eve Stewart, Les Miserables (Universal)

Best Editing

Stuart Baird, Kate Baird, Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Alexander Berner, Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros.)
Bob Ducsay, Looper (Sony Pictures)
Jeffrey Ford, Lisa Lassek, Marvel’s The Avengers (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
John Gilroy, The Bourne Legacy (Universal)
Tim Squyres, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)

Best Music

Mychael Danna, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Danny Elfman, Frankenweenie (Walt Disney Studios)
Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina (Focus Features)
Thomas Newman, Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Howard Shore, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Hans Zimmer, The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.)

Best Costume

Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina (Focus Features)
Kym Barrett, Pierre-Yves Gavraud, Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros.)
Sharen Davis, Django Unchained (The Weinstein Co.)
Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Paco Delgado, Les Miserables (Universal)
Colleen Atwood, Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal)

Best Make-Up

Heike Merker, Daniel Parker, Jeremy Woodhead, Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros.)
Gregory Nicotero, Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, Julie Hewitt, Hitchcock (Fox Searchlight)
Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater, Tami Lane, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
David Marti, Montse Ribe, Vasit Suchitta, The Impossible (Summit / Lionsgate)
Naomi Donne, Donald Mowat, Love Larson, Skyfall (Sony Pictures)
Jean Ann Black, Fay Von Schroeder, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (Lionsgate)

Best Special Effects

Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, Dan Sudick, Marvel’s The Avengers (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Grady Cofer, Pablo Helman, Jeanie King, Burt Dalton, Battleship (Universal)
Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Bros.)
Chris Corbould, Peter Chiang, Scott R. Fisher, Sue Rowe, John Carter (Walt Disney Studios)
Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan de Boer, Donald R. Elliott, Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)
Cedric Nicholas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Courbould, Michael Dawson, Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal)

Best Network Television Series

Elementary (CBS)
The Following (Fox)
Fringe (Fox)
Once Upon a Time (ABC)
Revolution (NBC)
Supernatural (CW)

Best Syndicated Cable Television Series

American Horror Story: Asylum (FX)
Dexter (Showtime)
Leverage (TNT)
The Killing (AMC)
True Blood (HBO)
The Walking Dead (AMC)

Best Television Presentation

Breaking Bad (AMC)
Continuum (Syfy)
Falling Skies (TNT)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Ken Follett’s World Without End (Reelz)
Mockingbird Lane (NBC)
Spartacus: War of the Damned (Starz)

Best Youth Oriented Series on Television

Arrow (CW)
Beauty and the Beast (CW)
Doctor Who (BBC America)
Merlin (Syfy)
Teen Wolf (MTV)
The Vampire Diaries (CW)

Best Actor

Kevin Bacon, The Following (Fox)
Billy Burke, Revolution (NBC)
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Michael C. Hall, Dexter (Showtime)
Joshua Jackson, Fringe (Fox)
Timothy Hutton, Leverage (TNT)
Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead (AMC)

Best Actress

Moon Bloodgood, Falling Skies (TNT)
Mireille Enos, The Killing (AMC)
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Asylum (FX)
Charlotte Riley, Ken Follett’s World Without End (Reelz)
Tracy Spiridakos, Revolution (NBC)
Anna Torv, Fringe (Fox)

Best Supporting Actor

Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Giancarlo Esposito, Revolution (NBC)
Todd Lasance, Spartacus: War of the Damned (Starz)
Colm Meaney, Hell on Wheels (AMC)
David Morrissey, The Walking Dead (AMC)
John Noble, Fringe (Fox)

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Carpenter, Dexter (Showtime)
Sarah Carter, Falling Skies (TNT)
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Laurie Holden, The Walking Dead (AMC)
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum (FX)
Beth Riesgraf, Leverage (TNT)

Best Guest Starring Role in a Series

Blair Brown, Fringe (Fox)
Terry O’Quinn, Falling Skies (TNT)
Lance Reddick, Fringe (Fox)
Mark Sheppard, Leverage (TNT)
Ray Stevenson, Dexter (Showtime)
Yvonne Strahovski, Dexter (Showtime)

Best DVD/Blu-ray Release

Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike (Atlas Distribution/Fox)
Chained (Anchor Bay)
Cosmopolis (Entertainment One)
The Possession (Lionsgate)
A Thousand Cuts (Lorber Films)
Touchback (Anchor Bay/Starz)

Best DVD/Blu-ray Special Edition Release

Jaws (Universal 100th Anniversary Edition) (Universal)
Lawrence of Arabia (50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) (Sony)
Les Vampires Classics Edition (Kino International)
Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut (Warner)
Stanley Kubrick’s Fear and Desire (Kino International)

Best DVD/Blu-ray Collection

Alfred Hitchcock (The Masterpiece Collection) (Universal)
Battle Royale (The Complete Collection) (Anchor Bay)
Bond 50 (The Complete 22 Film Collection) (MGM)
Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series (MPI)
The Ultimate Buster Keaton Blu-ray Collection (Kino Lorber)
Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection (Universal)

Best DVD/Blu-ray TV Series

In Search Of: The Complete Series (Visual Entertainment)
Logan’s Run: The Complete Series (Warner)
The River: The Complete First Season (ABC Studios)
Shazam! The Complete Live-Action Series (Warner Archive)
Spartacus: Vengeance (The Complete Second Season) (Starz/Anchor Bay)
Star Trek: The Next Generation (Seasons 1 & 2) (Paramount)

Source: Blastr

Based on the traditional Chinese “wuxia” (martial arts and chivalry) genre, Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was praised for it’s story, cinematography and mind-blowing martial arts sequences. Now the long-awaited and long-rumored sequel could finally be shooting as early as May, thanks to Sony and the Weinstein Company having cleared up their battle over the rights to the source material.

You see, just because your company is in the middle of court doesn’t mean you can’t plan for the future. The studio has been ready for years and already have themselves a script developed thanks to writer John Fusco. The new movie would be based on the book Iron Knight, Silver Vase, the fifth of five books in the Crane-Iron pentalogy by Wang Du Lu. Thus, it would be a continuation of the story of Yu Shu Lien, played by Michelle Yeoh in the first flick (which was based on the fourth book). Read on after the jump.

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The year of 2012 is drawing to a close and, barring the timely arrival of the end of days, the Academy Awards are just around the corner.  As part of getting into the award spirit, The Hollywood Reporter conducts interviews with some of the most talked about names for the season.  In one particular roundtable interview, they sit down and talk with directing greats such as Ben Affleck, Tom Hooper, Ang Lee, David O. Russell, Gus Van Sant and Quentin Tarantino.

Check out the video below to see a few of the best in the business chat about the way they see movies and their jobs as directors.  It’s quite enlightening if you happen to have an interest in what goes on behind the camera.

 

Thanks to THR for going through the trouble.

So yeah, I know (nearly) everyone out there hated the 2003 movie version of Hulk directed by Ang Lee. I didn’t, but it’s more or less universally-acclaimed that it was terrible. Regardless, Ang Lee broached the subject recently in an interview with Vulture about his latest movie, Life of Pi.

The ambitious project, based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, involves a lot of visual effects work and CG, especially considering that the main characters include a tiger, a zebra, a hyena and an orangutan. According to Lee, his work on Hulk gave him the ground work and practical experience he need to make Pi. He also talked about his reaction to Mark Ruffalo‘s Hulk performance in this past summer’s The Avengers, as well as a, uh, reconsideration of the work he did with the character almost 10 years ago.

I learned quite a bit about CG from The Hulk, and I wouldn’t have been able to do Life of Pi without that. But it’s easier to create an animal, because there exists a good reference — so a tiger or a hyena is easier than a 2,000-pound rage monster. The hardest thing to do is the weight, not the skin, because there’s no reference for something that size that is agile. And the technology’s improved, so you can have more details with Mark’s Hulk. My problem is that I took the whole thing too seriously. I should have had more fun with it, instead of all the psychodrama! [Laughs.]

So there! Let’s let bygones be bygones now that Ang Lee’s admitted that he dropped the ball on Hulk. You can now go back to your Michael Bay bashing, which is undoubtedly already in progress.

Source: Comic Book Movie

Comic book and movie fans love the most recent version of Marvel‘s big green gamma powered machine, the Hulk, but it’s had an abysmal movie run in its pastAng Lee’s Hulk was embarrassingly terrible while Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk delivered a bit more – thanks in part to Edward Norton, but Marvel Studios and Universal Pictures were both unimpressed with their final box office totals.

Now that we live in a post-Avengers world, we’ve seen what a proper Hulk can act and look like thanks to Joss Whedon, Mark Ruffalo and the many hours of work the wizards in the visual effects business did. With such praise about every aspect of the character’s execution, the Hulk series that ABC and Guillermo del Toro have been “developing” for ages should be a breeze to get going, right?

The movie and television site Screen Rant spoke with Industrial Light and Magic’s Jeff White, one of the Visual Effects Supervisors for The Avengers, and discussed the challenges Guillermo will most likely face for a series based around a different/younger Hulk and Bruce Banner:

“I think we’d have to have a lot of Banner. You know I think from beginning to end we got much faster at doing shots. We learned a lot about the process and about how to light him and how to make him look good. One of the things that was interesting was when we started off we kind of took our typical approach of really art directing the lighting, like rim, rim, rim, you know super stylized. And he really looked fake and kind of popped out. And what we found is that we ended up having to kind of flatten out his lighting to get him to sit in there with the rest of the Avengers. So I think after learning things like that, you know we could – if you’re talking about a TV schedule and how fast you need to turn around production, it would be a matter of, you know trying to build off everything we did for the movie and then, you know get him in there, get him lit. You wouldn’t have time to do the – you know all the really detailed shape, you know per frame corrections that we do.”

Since the Avengers’ Hulk is one of the most sophisticated visual effects of the entire movie, with CGI and motion capture used in a majority of Ruffalo‘s scenes as Hulk, fans are going to expect the same kind of treatment on television. Seeing another actor get painted green and appear once or twice an episode just doesn’t quite cut it anymore, so what kind of quality can we expect?

“I think that would be one of the big challenges. How do you turn that much animation around and still have it be believable? Because there is like animation, then simulation then, you know sort of hand correction after that. And I think where we found the biggest time suck ends up being is all the facial work, getting the eyes to look right and then how much that changes once you start lighting him.”

It all come down to the body type, as The Avengers Hulk was designed specifically for Ruffalo’s body and facial features. Sure, Marvel has the access and knowledge to use the current modeling of the Hulk on TV, but unless Ruffalo signs onto the series (which is highly unlikely) the current character models, motions and emotions are effectively useless. And even with these issues are somehow miraculously sorted out, the main issue is going to be the quality of the character.

White does mention that the TV effects team could possibly “youngify” the Hulk model, saving both the shows budget and visual effects time, but the character would still have to be based on an entirely different actor.

“[Even if you could youngify him], it would still be a challenge because you’d really have to put some thought and design work into it. For us, some of the hardest shots were not Hulk or Banner but what does he look like when he’s half-way there because on one you have a reference of a real guy and on the other you have all this artwork and then half-way in between there’s this weird amalgamation of how much brow and how much cheek and what do his eyes look like. For us, those were some of the more difficult shots was figuring out the half-way in between. Especially because Joss didn’t just want the transformations to be like either a slider or a guy who is a balloon. So that ended up being quite difficult.”

There’s no doubt that should this project go forward, which many of us are hoping, the visual effects team is going to having a taxing amount of work ahead of them. Unless these problems are addressed first and foremost, the conflict between great visuals and what’s practical will always be present.

And seeing as ABC is also currently working with Marvel on the S.H.I.E.L.D. television series, everyone is going to want to stay on their “A” game – that is, if they want another Hulk film once Avengers 2 hits theaters May 1st, 2015.

The Taking Woodstock Movie Review

(NerdBastards.com would like to thank Sean and everyone at The Embassy Cinema in Waltham Ma, as well as LandMarkCinemas in Boston for their support to the site and the amazing screenings they are so gracious to allow us to be a part of.)

Taking Woodstock is Ang Lee’s take on the most pivotal and instrumental concert in American History. It has more to do with the story leading up to it that you don’t ever here in the story of Woodstock (more…)