Sunday, 31 October 2010

"The Imperial Agent class delivers an experience unlike any other in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, and this week, we’re excited to share new details that highlight what makes the Agent so unique.

Learn about the Agent’s Advanced Classes and the combat tactics they rely on. Specialize as a Sniper and leverage distance and concealment to get an edge on your enemies, or master stealth, surprise, and combat medicine to become a versatile and deadly Operative.

In addition, check out the following updates for more intel on the Imperial Agent class:

•If you’re looking for a companion with attitude, visit the Biographies section to read about the Agent’s dangerously charming Rattataki companion, Kaliyo.
•Aliens are incredibly rare among the ranks of Imperial Intelligence, but if that sounds like your kind of character, be sure to inspect the new Chiss Inhabitants page for information on this enigmatic species.
•The Imperial Agent’s sleek starship is one of the most unique models in the galaxy. Check out the X-70B Phantom-Class Prototype in the starships section to get a tour.
•Last but not least, watch the new class gameplay video to get a look at the Agent in action!"
Paramount Pictures has set a high-profile summer release for J.J. Abrams' "Super 8," which hits theaters on June 10, 2011.Pic goes up against Universal's franchise installment "Fast Five" and Warner Bros.' romantic comedy"Something Borrowed."
"Super 8" is written and directed by J.J. Abrams. He's producing with Steven Spielberg and Bryan Burk.
Logline is being kept under tight wraps. There's been some speculation that film will pay homage to some of Abrams' favorite movies a kid, including Spielberg titles.
Cast includes Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Ron Edlard and Noah Emmerich.

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Saturday, 30 October 2010

Since it’s a casual Saturday with nothing else going on, I thought that this was worth sharing with y’all especially in the wake of its impending release.  With the development on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 being done and the game set to drop on retail shelves on Tuesday, the fine folks at LucasArts decided to have a party.  Even though their numbers may be few, it’s always nice to cap off the end of a project with a celebration and we all know that any celebration needs cake.
So with that being said, the LucasArts team probably got the coolest gaming/geek centric cake ever made: a crispy Stormtrooper.  A riff on how TFU2 hero Starkiller can turn Stormtrooper’s into nothing but ash, the cake is huge as hell and if I must say despite its somewhat gory influence, it looks quite delicious.  Awesome Star Wars cake complete with ash riddled Stormtrooper and ashy flakes of goodness = complete win.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 will be available next Tuesday and if you want your very own Stormtrooper cake I suggest you find your local specialty bakery or start brushing up on your baking skills.

A limited edition of 10,000 collector's box sets of the soundtrack for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is available for pre-ordering on Amazon, already reaching number eight on its Soundtracks Chart. It will be released December 21.
Individually numbered with a Certificate of Authenticity, this special package for the upcoming film includes the following items:
- A 7-inch double-sided picture vinyl disc with the film score, a CD with the original soundtrack and a second CD with an additional score.
- A DVD with composer Alexandre Desplat's score and a 7-minute video featurette of the recording session, including interviews with Desplat and producers David Heyman and David Barron.
- Orchestral sheet music from a recording session at Abbey Road Studios signed by Alexandre Desplat. Also, a movie poster and PremierCell presentation with 35mm photographic images from the film.
Composer Amexandre Desplat has also written music for The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Queen and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
This seventh and penultimate installment of the film franchise from J.K. Rowling's blockbuster novels, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 finds Voldemort's power growing as he takes control over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to finish Dumbledore's work and find the Horcruxes in order to defeat the Dark Lord. There seems to be little hope for the trio and the Wizarding World.

Friday, 29 October 2010

A few days ago we reported that the story going around that Indiana Jones is to be converted to 3D are false.  We just thought we would post it again because it seems the big news companies are now reporting out of date information.  A sudio source told movieline

“This is completely false. Right now, we are totally focused on bringing Star Wars to 3-D, and we have no plans to do an Indiana Jones conversion.”

To be honest I hope we get proved wrong and Indy comes back to the big screen.  I'll be there.  Watching Raiders on the big screen again would be an amazing opportunity.
Brussels-- Alexandre Desplat has taken top honors at the World Soundtrack Awards for the second year running.
He was named film composer of the year on Saturday evening for his work on "Fantastic Mr. Fox," "New Moon," "Julie & Julia" and "The Ghost Writer."
"Mr Fox" also got the nod for best original film score, repeating Desplat's double last year with "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."
Kudos for best original song went to "The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart," with music and lyrics by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett.
Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski was named discovery of the year for his work on "A Single Man," which also picked up the public choice award.
John Barry received the World Soundtrack lifetime achievement award.
Now in their tenth edition, the award ceremony closed the Ghent Film Festival in Belgium.

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Steven Spielberg pictured during filming of War Horse
Steven Spielberg pictured during filming of War Horse

Legendary Hollywood director Steven Spielberg has spoken of the "abundance of natural beauty" he enjoyed while filming scenes for his latest movie on Dartmoor recently.
Spielberg spent a number of weeks in the Sheepstor area of Dartmoor while filming War Horse.
And, in a letter to a local newspaper, he has thanked the patience of residents during the shoot.
He said the "support of the local community was critical".
The letter to the Plymouth Evening Herald was sent out by production company, Afterworks Ltd.
Filming took place around Sheepstor and Meavy
In it, the Jaws, Jurassic Park and ET director says: "I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor.
"And, with two-and-a-half weeks of extensive coverage of landscapes and skies, I hardly scratched the surface of the visual opportunities that were offered to me."
The letter continues: "We have had an incredibly successful shoot and every member of our substantial crew has commented on what a great experience the shoot in Dartmoor has been.
"We faced many logistical challenges working in the narrow lanes and villages on Dartmoor with our extensive film unit.
"The patience and support of the local community was critical in allowing us to safely and quickly move from place to place in search of the best shots and the best light to shoot them.
"We wanted to thank all the residents of Sheepstor and Meavy and the surrounding communities on Dartmoor for their support throughout our stay in Devon, without their help co-operation and patience we would not have been able to achieve so much in such a short space of time."
War Horse, being released by Dreamworks Studios, is based on the book by Devon-based children's author Michael Morpurgo.
Published in 1982, it is the story of Devon farm horse, Joey, who is sent to France at the outbreak of WWI.
It is currently enjoying great success on the London stage and will soon be transferring to Broadway.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The original Darth Vader costume from one of the Star Wars films is expected to fetch up to $365,000 at an auction in London.

Christie's auction house is selling the black helmet, mask and armor worn by the villain, voiced by James Earl Jones, at a pop culture memorabilia sale on November 25.

The company told the Associated Press the outfit is believed to have been made for the 1980 movie The Empire Strikes Back and that the seller is an anonymous American private collector. 

Poltergeist-posterImage Credit: Everett CollectionWe’re here! It’s a week before Halloween, but the release of Paranormal Activity 2: Electric Boo!-galoo seemed like the perfect occasion to watch the 1982 ghosts-in-suburbia film Poltergeist. About a family being terrorized by a specter older than Arlen and scarier than Phil, the flick has given birth to endless quotable lines, childhood nightmares, and rumors of a curse. Directed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Tobe Hooper, but kinda maybe really directed by 1941’s Steven Spielberg, it remains a classic of the genre and a good warning not to let your kids sit too close to the TV.
Darren Franich: The first 20 minutes are all slow-building suspense. There are dozens of perfect little details about family life, like the dad convincing the kids that the lightning isn’t so scary, or the wife smoking a joint while her husband reads a book about Ronald Reagan. Then these very subtle spooky things happen. Chairs move. A glass breaks. It feels like a movie powered by spooky suggestion — very Paranormal Activity-ish, in fact. And then a tree smashes through a window, grabs the young son, and tries to eat him. End of subtly terrifying portion of the film.
Keith Staskiewicz: To me it’s those tiny suburban details that make the movie: The Chewbacca poster, the potato chip bag under the pillow, the remote control dispute with the neighbor. I think it’s interesting that Spielberg had to choose between directing this and E.T. after he completed Raiders of the Lost Ark, because E.T. shares that god- and/or the devil-is-in-the-details philosophy. From the kids’ Halloween costumes to, again, the Star Wars memorabilia (thanks, Raiders producer George Lucas!), it adds up to really make you believe in this vision of childhood and family life. The only difference is that the invading force is befriending your children, not absconding with them into the TV.
DF: But also, in E.T., suburbia is a Calvin-and-Hobbesian wonderland. In Poltergeist, suburbia is built on the corpses of older generations; it’s just Hobbesian. Poltergeist feels like a pessimists’ inversion of a Spielberg movie. The force isn’t invading. It’s been there the whole time.

Look, kids, the ruins of the American Dream!

KS I don’t think it’s an inversion. More of a flip-side companion piece. Poltergeist just shows the darker side of things. The family is still the central unit, and is still really what is at the heart of the film, but it just turns out that the American Dream is built on a sea of corpses.
DF: That strikes me as a gigantic difference. But this brings up the Big Question about Poltergeist: Who actually directed this thing?
KS: I view it as a Spielberg movie. I like Tobe Hooper, and looking over his filmography, I was surprised to find that there’s actually a bunch of great stuff beyond Texas Chainsaw Massacre that I usually forget about, like The Funhouse and Salem’s Lot. But I just see Spielberg’s hands all over this movie.

Fun fact! The movie on TV is "A Guy Named Joe," the inspiration for Spielberg's worst movie, "Always."
DF: To me, Poltergeist is a Spielberg movie the way that A.I. is a Kubrick movie. The outline is there, but the particular treatment feels completely different, even purposefully oppositional.
KS: Except Kubrick wasn’t constantly on the set of A.I., unless he himself was a poltergeist. “Come play with us, Stevie!”
DF: If you’re telling me that this is a straight-up Spielberg movie, then you have to acknowledge that there are some things in the movie that feel utterly unlike pretty much anything else Spielberg has ever done. Like the coffins popping up out of the ground. Or the utter anarchy of the ending.
KS: I don’t see how the face-meltings and leg-chompings of Spielberg’s other movies are all that different from something like this.

"One minute! Just putting my face on!"
DF: Let’s just agree that Spielberg built a beautiful Spielberg-movie house, and then a strange presence invaded that house.
KS: And that presence was Tobe Hooper, under a sheet, with holes cut out for eyes. Upon rewatching, I feel comfortable dubbing this one of my favorite horror movies of all time, and at least part of that is due to the great special effects. Sure, the face-peeling scene looks a little fake, but that didn’t stop it from freaking the heck out of us. And almost everything else holds up tremendously well, even now. Combined with The Thing, it really makes you yearn for the practical effects of 1982 over CGI werewolves. I miss the good old days of muppets and slime. Why is everything so digitalized now? I hate modernity. Where’s my cane? Who changed the TV from Murder, She Wrote?

Theres more Poltergiest goings-on here.  It really is a great read.
 Alexandre Desplat was chosen to compose the music soundtrack for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, which he did this past summer.

Warner Bros. has confirmed the titles of the tracks composed by Mr. Desplat by posting them on the WB Watertower Music site with the following synopsis of the film:
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final adventure in the Harry Potter film series, is a much-anticipated motion picture event to be told in two full-length parts. Part 1 begins as Harry, Ron and Hermione set out on their perilous mission to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort’s immortality and destruction – the Horcruxes. On their own, without the guidance of their professors or the protection of Professor Dumbledore, the three friends must now rely on one another more than ever. But there are Dark Forces in their midst that threaten to tear them apart.”
Here is the tracklist:
2.Snape to Malfoy Manor
3.Polyjuice Potion
4.Sky Battle
5.At The Burrow
6.Harry and Ginny
7.The Will
8.Death Eaters
10.Ministry of Magic
12.The Locket
13.Fireplaces Escape
14.Ron Leaves
15.The Exodus
16.Godric’s Hollow Graveyard
17.Bathilda Bagshot
18.Hermione’s Parents
19.Destroying the Locket
20.Ron’s Speech
22.The Deathly Hallows
23.Captured and Tortured
24.Rescuing Hermione
25.Farewell to Dobby
26.The Elder Wand

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

MUSKEGON — Music from "Star Wars" will highlight the West Michigan Symphony's first Pops Concert of the 2010-11 season.
The tribute to the music of John Williams, conducted by WMS Music Director Scott Speck, will take place this weekend. Show times are 7:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.
Laced with the heady effervescence for which Williams' music is known, "Salute to John Williams: The Soundtrack of Our Lives" will feature a medley of selections guaranteed to pack a punch as powerful and evocative as Williams' familiar film scores.
"Star Wars" fans especially will take particular delight in the concert, as fully half of which will be devoted to music from all six episodes of the blockbuster intergalactic saga.
"This concert will showcase the best themes of John Williams, which to a great extent have helped form the soundtrack to our lives," Speck said.
All WMS concerts take place in the Frauenthal Center for Performing Arts in downtown Muskegon.
For ticket prices and more information, visit or call 231-726-3231.
In a galaxy far far away.
If Every Saga has a Begining, Then Every SITH has a History,and Every Tale must be told...
This is the tale of a young Darth Maul, as he passes the trails of Pain and becomes the most lethal apprentice the Sith order has ever known,,,,,

STAR WARS: CONTRACT of EVIL from Lou Klein on Vimeo.

The latest Star Wars game, Force Unleashed II, is out this week and to find out more we visited LucasArts and Industrial Light and Magic at the Letterman Digital Arts Center. Here's what we discovered about the home of Star Wars...
Darth Vader
Does every visitor to LucasArts get this welcome?
As our minibus pulls up to the LucasArts entrance area, there is a strange but not entirely unexpected welcoming party. Darth Vader and six stormtroopers are lined up along the road, standing to attention in the blinding Californian sunshine. Yesterday San Francisco saw its hottest day since records began, and today the temperature remains in the high nineties. Of course, press trips like this are rare, and the staff at LucasArts like to pull out all the stops. But these poor bastards must think they're back on Tatooine.
Yoda fountain We're here to tour the Letterman Digital Arts Center, a sprawl of modern office buildings constructed in 1999 to house LucasArts and legendary special effects company, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). LDAC takes up 860,000 square feet of office space (and 17 acres of parkland) on Frisco's historic Presidio site, once a major Spanish stronghold and then a US Army base for 150 years. And like the previous residents, the Lucas organisation has left its own distinctive mark on the landscape; by the main entrance there is an ostentatious fountain with a life-size statue of Yoda at its head.
This is where all the in-house Star Wars games are developed; currently that means Force Unleashed II, a Jedi brawler set between the two cinematic trilogies. It's also where ILM produces its cutting edge special effects: the likes of Avatar, Star Trek and Iron Man II have all recently passed through here.
Boba Fett A Boba Fett statue housed in the Letterman reception. The company's far-reaching influence over the last 35 years of cinematic design is abundantly obvious in this vast complex. Everywhere we walk, there are models from the era before digital computer effects took over. We pass ET, the slimer from Ghostbusters, a large spacecraft from Deep Impact; in the reception area there's Han Solo frozen in carbonite (beside a fan-made life-sized model of Jar Jar in carbonite – Lucas liked it so much he wanted it hung here) all intricately detailed and lovingly preserved. On one wall you'll even find the front door to ILM's original office, emblazoned with, 'The Kerner Company, Optical Research Lab', the pseudonym the department once went under in order not to draw attention to its building. "They wanted to keep it because every big director they worked with in those early days touched that door handle," explains LucasArts PR manager Barbara Gamlen as we wander by.
Optical Printer The Howard Anderson optical printer – a relic bought by George Lucas to help with compositing effects in Star Wars. Throughout the complex, the walls are lined with painted concept art. We pass a particularly massive canvases depicting an airport scene from Diehard 2, and there are early sketches of Darth Vader, the At-Ats and the Star Wars droids. Every turned corner, every expanse of vertical space, offers an arcane treat for fans of blockbusting cinema, right down to the ancient Howard Anderson optical printer used to composite many of the effects shots in Star Wars. Lucas also owns the world's largest collection of classic movie posters and dozens of his favourites are hung around this building, as well as on the walls at Skywalker Ranch. Apparently, he'll regularly request that they're moved around, slipping post-it notes on the works to be transferred.
The close unification of LucasArts and ILM in these buildings is symbolic of the convergence we're now seeing between games and movies. Developers on both sides of the divide now employ the same tools, the same staff, and they're exploring the same technological horizons, using bleeding edge motion capture to record human movement, and experimenting with 3D visuals. At LDAC that sort of cross-pollination is rife. "We can walk the corridors and have conversations with the folks creating the Clone Wars TV series, with writers, artists, directors and animators that are carrying the Star Wars legacy forward," says global VP of publishing, Mary Bihr. "And we can talk to people from Industrial Light and Magic, who not only work on Star Wars and Indiana Jones, they touch other properties – right now they're working on films like Rango and Transformers III. We're all housed here in this one facility."
One of our first ports of call is the ILM shooting stage, a darkened warehouse-like space lined with computers and esoteric film-making equipment. "Basically the entire room is a live virtual space," explains digital supervisor Mike Sanders. "We can do blue screen, green screen, HD, you name it. It's equipped for state-of-the-art virtual cinematography, so there's a 40-camera motion capture system in here – if we have actors in mo-cap suits we can record whatever they're doing."
This system is used in almost every movie that ILM works on now. The background characters and hero actions in Iron Man, Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean were captured here. "We also provide a lot of digital doubles of actors for the stunt work," says Sanders. "We'll either do full CG replacements or we'll do a head or face replacement. We have a technology called Clone Cam, which allows us to rebuild the actor's head in immensely high resolution. It's a photographic technique like a scan, but laser scans take too long, and there are a lot of inaccuracies if the actor moves their head. We invented this technique about six years ago because we were doing Lemony Snickett and we needed a digital baby. You don't want to put babies in front of a laser…"
This same technology, the motion capture cameras and the Clone Cam, have also been used in LucasArts' latest games, including Force Unleashed 2. The pipeline is slightly different, and the data has to be scaled down (it can take all night to render a single frame of a movie CG sequence – a video game needs to render 30 frames a second), but it's the same teams and equipment serving both sectors.
And vitally, this isn't just movies leading the way with video games benefiting from a trickle down effect: game technology is ahead in certain areas. "When we've been able to share our real-time shaders and real-time lighting advances with ILM, they've been blown away," says LucasArts art director Matt Omernick. "In fact, they have wanted to adopt it into many of the projects that they're working on. For a lighting artist, there's a huge advantage in being able to get a scene perfectly right, iterate on it 100 times in one day and then send it off as a render. Movies have got to the point where you can do almost anything, and while games still have a lot of problems to solve, what we're good at is doing things very quickly, and iterating very quickly, and that inevitably gets you to a higher quality. That will feed back in to both industries."
It's also a gaming event that helped Sanders and his team to develop ILM's latest technique – real-time movie-making using motion capture systems...

Go there tomorrow and read part two.  Amazing article.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

A rumor is circulating today that Lucasfilm plans to convert the four Indiana Jones movies to 3-D, a move echoing its six Star Wars conversions that will debut in 2012 with The Phantom Menace. It could be interesting, right? Alas, a Lucasfilm representative tells Movieline we won’t find out any time soon.
A studio source I’ve worked with in the past denied the story outright: “This is completely false. Right now, we are totally focused on bringing Star Wars to 3-D, and we have no plans to do an Indiana Jones conversion.” And… scene. It’s too bad, too, because let’s be honest: You’ve never really seen a fridge nuked until you’ve seen it nuked in 3-D.
answered the phone to hear a voice on the line with an unusual offer.
The call was from the office of Star Wars creator George Lucas, who wanted to commission a few Star Wars paintings for a book he was working on.
"I said, 'You must have the wrong number because I do World War II paintings," Bailey recalled with a laugh. "And he said, 'No, no -- he's seen your work and he wants you to do Star Wars.' "
They'd tracked down Bailey through his website, which mainly features his oil-on-canvas works depicting Second World War-era military planes and battles.
He was one of about 100 artists commissioned to contribute art for the just-released book Star Wars Visions, which retails for $48.
Caught off guard by the phone call two years ago but up for the challenge, Bailey, who has been painting since he was five years old, immediately accepted the offer. But he had some brushing up to do, since the last time he had seen a Star Wars film was in 1978.
"I was frank. I said, 'I don't really have any reference material for Star Wars,' " Bailey said. "And they said, 'Don't worry, we'll take care of it.' "
A large box arrived by overnight Fed Ex from the Skywalker Ranch near San Francisco. When Bailey opened the package, he found it stuffed with Star Wars reference material -- everything he would need to complete Lucas's request.
For the next week, Bailey watched the six Star Wars films, and pored over the books to familiarize himself with the science-fiction classics.
"I dropped everything else and I said, 'I'm not doing anything else for 12 months.' "
Bailey soon found himself en route to the Skywalker Ranch to meet with Lucas -- one of only two artists commissioned for the project to do so.
"George said that he wanted people, when they walked away from seeing the paintings, to feel inspired," the 63-year-old artist said.
Upon his return to his Stony Plain home, a friend set him up with a group of local diehard Star Wars fans who create their own replicas of character costumes.
That's how Bailey found himself visited by R2-D2, C-3P0 and yes, even Chewie.
"Chewbacca came to the house -- he was nine feet high in his outfit -- and he posed in my studio."
The result of his year-long effort was four paintings featuring re-imagined characters and landscapes from the popular films.
"George said to me, 'I'd like to see new creatures, new planets, new robots.' "
Lucas purchased the four works for an average of $28,000 each. Three of them made the cut and will appear in the book. One of those -- titled Now My Enemy -- which features Lucas's favourite female character from the films, Ahsoka, will remain in Lucas's personal collection.
Two of the three other paintings Bailey created -- the Chewie and Yoda inspired Red Planet Rebels and Overlord Betrayal, which includes R2-D2 and C-3P0 -- will appear in a limited edition version of the book, which comes in a black velvet case and will sell for a whopping $500.
All of Bailey's creations -- except Now My Enemy -- are to be auctioned in California. Bailey will receive part of the proceeds.
The box of preview books arrived at Bailey's home Wednesday morning. He flipped through the pages at the renderings of the classic characters in diverse styles, looked up and grinned.
"If someone had said to me three years ago 'You'll be working for George Lucas for 12 months,' I'd have said that's just a dream," Bailey said. "It was a huge honour for me and it will probably be the pinnacle of my experience as an artist."
For lovers of Family Guy, you may want to take notice of Amazon's listing for the Family Guy Trilogy: Laugh It Up Fuzzball, a collection of all three of Family Guy's Star Wars episodes in one convenient box. Of course, it you previously purchased the two that are currently available, you probably want to kick someone in the teeth right about now, but let's face it, we knew something like this would spring up once the Trilogy was completed.

The Trilogy is set to drop on December 21, 2010 on Blu-ray for the mass suggested retail price of $39.99. There's no listing for the DVD set as of this time, but there's bound to be one. After all, more folks own DVD players than Blu-ray players, and Family Guy is a huge show that reaches a broad variety of people.

Check out the box art below:

Monday, 25 October 2010

It's from Black Milk Clothing, an independent clothing company from Australia that normally specializes in exotic leggings. It was designed by James Lillis, goes for US$85, and is made from a Polyester/Lycra blend. We're not sure if it's Lucasfilm-licensed (we're guessing it's not) but it's cool nonetheless.

This is my favourite.  Just like an R2 unit this is practical and looks good.  Now where do I put that restraining bolt?

 Also Available is this Darkside swimsuit.  Still prefer the R2 one though.

Thanks to
If you have woken up this morning and have Monday blues then listen to this wonderful piece of music by Bill Conti for the 80's hit The Karate Kid.  Very uplifting with its pan pipes and soothing tempo

Spielberg will helm an adaptation of Daniel H. Wilson’s “Robopocalypse,” where humans fight back against a robot uprising. Deadline, which broke the story, says Spielberg will work from a Drew Goddard script, will begin shooting in January, and will have the film in theaters in 2013.
Those who want to know more about Wilson’s story will have to pick up the book this summer. Doubleday reportedly will publish the novel in June.
Spielberg’s decision, meanwhile, leaves a handful of interesting projects on the backburner. That rumored “Indiana Jones’ sequel that several key players have mentioned could be dead. Harrison Ford isn’t getting any younger, and fans have voiced their concerns over a Shia LaBeouf-led “Mutt” Williams story. Even LaBeouf mouthed off about “Crystal Skull,” so the wheels might have come off the franchise for good.
The other project that seemed likely but now likely is done is Spielberg’s oft-discussed Lincoln film. Anything’s possible. Spielberg can come back around to it at a later date. But Liam Neeson’s out of the running to play our nation’s 16th president, so Spielberg will have to go digging if and when he decides to stage that drama.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Paleontologist, John R. Horner, technical advisor for the first three Jurassic Park films and for Jurassic Park IV, this week was purported to say that although planning and script writing had begun on the long awaited sequel, circumstance has managed to slow down production to a dead halt. 

"It's dead, at least for now. We were working on it, but things weren't happening soon enough. Anyways, it’s a Universal film, and Spielberg is with Disney right now. So until Spielberg gets back with Universal its dead. Hopefully it will be made eventually though!" 

With rumors of Jurassic Park IV going by the name of Extinction, there was also frightening rumors of a story that involved super intelligent dinosaurs being trained by the military to operate lasers guns. Thus it is of some consolation that the current script, if it gets made, will go back to the core principles of Michael Crichton’s original novel, and focus primarily on the science of genetics: 

"Well, JP4 wasn't a grand finale was...well... Well the script focused a lot on genetics, I can say that." 

This of course does not mean there will be no Jurassic Park IV or that the rumored (and I hate to use this word) 'reboot' will never take place, as demand for the franchise is still high, while the leading names in Hollywood are still supporting its regeneration. In January 2010 Jurassic Park III director Joe Johnston revealed that Jurassic Park IV was set to be the beginning of a second Jurassic Park trilogy, that will move into full gear once he finishes Captain America. With the backing and support of Stephen Spielberg and all the surviving character's original cast members (including Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neil) still expressing an enthusiastic interest for a new trilogy, that initial release date of 2011 looks more likely to be the Summer of 2013 or 2014... if it ever gets out of development hell. 

Thanks to we can now confirm that the rumour of there being three new Star Wars movies are false (Sorry) 

“This is, of course, completely false,” Lucasfilm spokesman Josh Kushins told in an e-mail Saturday about the report. “George Lucas has plenty of projects to keep him busy right now — including plenty of Star Wars projects — but there are no new Star Wars feature films planned.”

Read the full article here
LucasArts has contacted Digital Foundry to talk about the tech behind the forthcoming Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, based on points raised in our PS3/360 demo showdown.
In that feature we said that the new game is an extremely close cross-platform project, which looks absolutely fantastic thanks to some great art in concert with a state-of-the-art rendering engine.
There are differences between the two platforms that we spotted in the demo code - higher-precision motion-blur and edge-detection on PS3 up against a slightly smoother performance level across the run of play on Xbox 360, along with a couple of other minor curiosities revolving around lightsabers and textures. But in short, it's very close indeed - something LucasArts is keen to emphasise.
LucasArts senior rendering engineer Dmitry Andreev writes:
"When we started with the TFUII project, the direction we chose was quite clear and strong on the rendering side – to make the best multi-platform experience possible on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360; to squeeze as much power out of them while trying to match the visual look as close as possible, and do it with only the small team of three rendering engineers.
"I don't know how all those screenshots and comparisons I am finding on the internet are done... With 99.9 per cent confidence I can confirm that the game looks (almost) identical on both platforms. In fact, I have all captures right in front of me (the PS3 and Xbox 360) and if you don't know which one is which, then you can't tell the difference.
"Component and HDMI signals make a difference, so I would assume that most of the reviews don't compare the game under the same conditions. In another case, one would look at the shot that was done in motion so the textures were slightly blurred at that moment, with the one on another console which had a different condition, and would say that the textures are in lower resolution. [But] all the textures are in the same resolution, with the same anisotropic filtering settings and mipmap levels.
"We also make sure that the frame rate stays at 30FPS with as minimal drops as possible on both platforms so some dynamic performance adjustments are made, thus you have to really compare the game under the same conditions. On average, both platforms perform the same. Sometimes the Xbox 360 drops a little, sometimes the PS3. But we were quite strong about keeping the frame-rate and quality the same.
"There are some little differences in motion blur and depth of field implementations that can lead to some artifacts, but it's always about compromises between the quality and performance. On the Xbox 360, the motion blur solution is slightly tweaked for performance and can produce some low-res artifacts under conditions when a foreground object moves against a static background.
"Those cases are very rare and not very apparent in motion. PlayStation 3 doesn't have this issue as it's minimised a lot more and almost impossible to see. In most of the cases it is incorrect to look at still images as it's the quality per unit of time that matters most. It should be observed in motion.
"Now, why is it almost identical?
"Unfortunately, there are two bugs ("features") that made it through: Lightsabers are a little fatter on the PS3 which some people happen to like more, and there is no tension map on the character's face in cut-scenes on the PS3. This is not because of any technical problem or hardware constraint of the PlayStation 3. Just a bug.
"Regarding the anti-aliasing that's true that in general there are not that many high-contrast edges in the demo, but the algorithm is designed to fix-up mostly edges with noticeable local contrast. In other words, if there is possibility of seeing any kind of aliasing or jaggies, it will fix it up leaving the ones that are not noticeable untouched.
"Here are some examples of what the original picture of that level without any AA looks like and Xbox 360 implementation of DLAA. The PlayStation 3 version has slightly higher quality on the long edges though."
There are some interesting points here from Andreev, in particular his comments on DLAA - the directional anti-aliasing system employed by The Force Unleashed II. The results of it in the demo were extremely impressive, but we didn't really want to comment on it more fully until we'd seen the full game with the technique put through its paces across a range of environments.
Andreev is keeping his cards close to his chest on how DLAA works, but did want to present a few points about his technique in comparison to conventional MSAA and the MLAA system used on God of War III:
MSAA gives great results but is highly expensive on consoles and doesn't work well with deferred techniques. On the other hand, one can argue that MLAA gives better results on still images which I would agree with, but the difference is in details.
  • "MLAA has only been shipped on PlayStation 3 at the moment and some advanced implementations take about 4ms on 5 SPUs. There are some attempts to implement it on Xbox 360 but they start at 3.75ms and up.
  • "MLAA has serious stability issues which results in popping pixels and other temporal artifacts. Configuration of the edges changes in time with changing local conditions, for instance, when the edge passes across some noisy background.
  • "To improve temporal stability some use additional data like depth or normal maps. But that approach has other issues, mostly with different kind of lighting when the light "wraps around" the object and creates anti-aliasing effect of its own. In this case depth information assisted MLAA creates extra aliasing when there is no visible aliasing present. In TFUII this is very common situation as well as in the demo level.
"Thus when any comparion is made, we should keep in mind the following numbers. Typical execution times of DLAA in our current implementation are:
  • "Xbox 360: 2.2 +/- 0.2ms @ 1280x720
  • "PlayStation3 (5 SPUs): 1.6 +/- 0.3ms @ 1280x720"
In short, Andreev's chosen anti-aliasing solution is the right solution for his (multi-platform) game, and it's certainly very interesting to see a new technique deployed in a shipping game that produces such outstanding results. As we talked about earlier this year in our anti-aliasing piece, it's fascinating to see developers moving away from hardware AA towards custom solutions that often provide a superior effect.
To pick up a couple of his other points, Digital Foundry works entirely from full-range RGB HDMI sources. Our performance analyses are based on direct, lossless, digital captures from the output of each console - it's the only way we can guarantee that the measurements are correct. Both sets of data from both consoles are processed in exactly the same way.
Andreev's right though: like-for-like testing is the ideal but there are few occasions when this is possible. Cut-scenes can help of course in many (but not all) cases, but extended gameplay clips are the best method available for us to test overall performance across a range of scenarios. It's not entirely like-for-like of course, but it's still a worth including as an overall indication of the gameplay experience, and it's a technique often used by PC benchmarking websites in ascertaining GPU performance. As regular readers will know, in full Face-Offs, we typically like to include both forms of measurement where possible.
Of course, Andreev is also quite right to point out that effects should be judged in motion (we did point out that the motion blur difference is only really noticeable on fast pans involving movement of the whole screen) but at the same time still-shot analysis helps explain how things work, and how developers adopt different strategies for certain effects on each platform - which we find very interesting.
It's good to know that the minor differences we did find were indeed bugs (which will hopefully be fixed via patches or bundled into DLC updates) as per our initial thoughts, but Andreev's emphasis on the crucial aspects that are entirely like-for-like across both consoles are well worth bearing out too. Considering how different the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are from an architectural standpoint, the fact that both versions of an advanced title like The Force Unleashed II are so close is an impressive achievement.
We're still waiting for the final game, but as we said in the original piece, if you've not downloaded the demo yet you really should check it out - it's shaping up to be something rather special.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

M&C Saatchi have pulled off quite a coup by persuading Star Wars creator George Lucas to hand over R2-D2 and C-P30 for use in an ad campaign this weekend to promote Currys, of all people.
Lucas has even provided a group of Imperial Stormtroopers to turn up as a marketing stunt for the opening of one of a chain of new Currys megastores, which the ad campaign is designed to promote. In the TV commercial, the two much-loved Star Wars robots are depicted breaking into Currys and becoming intrigued by various electrical items, with R2-D2 getting jiggy with a Hetty Hoover.
As a creative idea it reminds me of the Wieden & Kennedy ad for Honda featuring the Japanese company’s robot Asimo wandering around various museums on a mission of discovery before coming face to face with the outfit of a Russian spaceman, which he mistakes for his reflection.
M&C creative head Graham Fink persuaded Lucas and his team to release the R2-D2 and C-P30 at a reasonable rate in return for featuring them in the commercial playing the new Star Wars game on a big screen in Currys. I suppose if you’re going for that robot theme then R2-D2 is about as good as it gets.
The Currys ads are directed by Sam Brown (known for shooting Foo Fighters videos and the recent BBH ad for Audi showing the R8 Spyder dodging cars in London’s Excel Centre). An accompanying poster campaign has been shot by David Bailey. It’s all quite ambitious for a brand that you normally associate with very tame advertising based on lists of prices (a traditional strategy but one that is very effective in driving sales). The new TV ads break tomorrow night during the X Factor. It should be among the most memorable campaigns of the year, but whether it actually sells more units than those old school lists of special offers remains to be seen.
IESB is reporting that they have the inside information from a source within Lucasfilm!

"The word from our ultra top-secret Lucasfilm insider is that Lucas has gotten the itch and is already looking ahead into launching an entirely new trilogy in that galaxy far, far away.

What do we know? First of all, these new film will have nothing to do with the live action television series currently in development. That show already has over 50 scripts ready to go and plenty of pre-production time and money has been spent on artwork and storyboards. Once that show goes into production, Lucasfilm hopes to be able to produce at least 100 episodes since that is the threshold for syndication in the United States."

IESB has been told fans can expect the new trilogy after the entire saga is released in 3D which is expected to be complete around 2015 or 2016.

thebeardedtrio will keep you informed of any development on this rumour.
In a recent episode of "Fringe," a theater marquee in the parallel universe advertised "'Back to the Future' Starring Eric Stoltz." For those in the know - and as director Robert Zemeckis and others describe in a featurette on the "Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Trilogy" coming out Oct. 26 - that alternate reality was almost true.For five weeks before Michael J. Fox signed on as time-traveling teen Marty McFly, the role was being shot with current "Caprica" star Stoltz. Yet, as Zemeckis recalls today, "He's a magnificent actor, but his comedy sensibilities were very different than what I had written with Bob, and he and I were just never able to make that work."
Steven Spielberg, one of the executive producers, says Zemeckis ultimately "showed me the first five weeks of footage cut together, and he just said I don't think we're getting the laughs that I was hoping we would be able to get. And I looked at and I realized that he was absolutely correct. ...
"So I had to make this horrific decision," Zemeckis continues, "which was very heartbreaking for everybody. But luckily I was able to convince the studio to let me reshoot five weeks of work."
Stoltz went on to do OK for himself, earning a Golden Globe nomination for "Mask" the same year, and starring in the hit "Some Kind of Wonderful" two years later, settling into a solid career. Most recently, he directed last week's "Glee" episode.

Friday, 22 October 2010

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A force behind the Force is leaving Lucasfilm. In an e-mail blast on Wednesday,  Stephen J. Sansweet said he planned to end his reign as director of content management and head of fan relations for Lucasfilm, the company behind the “Star Wars” franchise, next spring.
Mr. Sansweet, once the Los Angeles bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, became known to millions of “Star Wars” fans as a keeper of the flame — and of a massive personal collection of “Star Wars” paraphernalia that fills a 5,000-square-foot barn at his home in Petaluma, Calif. In his e-mail Mr. Sansweet pointed to a posting on that recaps his 15-year career with Lucasfilm but quotes him as saying, “It’s time for another change and new challenges.” Still, it assures the faithful that he will remain involved with the fans, whatever his next endeavor — and includes a photograph of him dressed as an Ewok.
The Office actor Martin Freeman will play Bilbo Baggins in two-part Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit, director Peter Jackson has announced.
He said in a statement there had "only ever been one Bilbo Baggins for us".
Freeman, 39, was "intelligent, funny, surprising and brave - exactly like Bilbo", Jackson added.
Meanwhile, Jackson's wife Fran Walsh has reportedly told a radio station filming could move to the UK because of an industrial dispute in New Zealand.
Dwarves cast
Jackson said he was "incredibly proud" to be able to announce that Freeman would be the hobbit.
Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, Rob Kazinsky and Graham McTavish Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, Rob Kazinsky and Graham McTavish will all appear in The Hobbit
"There are a few times in your career when you come across an actor who you know was born to play a role, but that was the case as soon as I met Martin," Jackson said.
Spooks actor Richard Armitage, 39 - who has a role in the forthcoming film Captain America: The First Avenger - will play Thorin Oakenshield - leader of the dwarves.
Former EastEnders actor Rob Kazinsky, Sean Slater in the soap, will also play a dwarf.
He will appear alongside Irish actor Aidan Turner, who has appeared in BBC Three's Being Human, and British actor Graham McTavish, who has appeared on TV shows including Red Dwarf.
Other dwarves will be played by John Callen, Stephen Hunter, Mark Hadlow and Peter Hambleton.
The films are due to be released in December 2012 and December 2013.
As with the Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, the film had been due to be made in Jackson's native New Zealand.
But on Thursday, film studio Warner Bros said the ongoing pay wrangle with acting unions had "forced us to consider other filming locations for the first time".
Jackson's wife and creative partner Fran Walsh, meanwhile, reportedly told Radio New Zealand that film producers "had people in the UK taking location photographs".
"They've got a huge studio there that Harry Potter has vacated, the ex-Rolls Royce factory, that they say would be perfect for us."
Canada, Australia and the Czech Republic have also been linked with the production.
Peter Jackson Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy won a total of 17 Oscars
Unions representing actors and other workers urged a boycott against the $500m (£319m) production because of the dispute over contracts.
They are trying to force Jackson's production company, Wingnut Films, and Warner Bros to enter negotiations with them over the contracts deadlock.
While major unions including America's Screen Actors Guild and New Zealand Actors' Equity have retreated, smaller unions in New Zealand and Australia are continuing their boycott.
Meanwhile, non-union film workers have hit the streets in New Zealand to demand that filming stays there.
Earlier this month, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he would be "greatly concerned" if production on Jackson's film was lost.
Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy won 17 Oscars and earned billions of dollars at box offices worldwide.

Industrial Light & Magic has for the most part defined what special visual effects for movies were expected to be since the division of Lucasfilm was formed 35 years ago. Now the magic makers are the subject of a new documentary, Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible, from Academ y Award- and Emmy-nominated director Leslie Iwerks.

Narrated by Tom Cruise, the film will debut on the Encore cable channel on Friday, November 12, 2010 at 9:00 PM ET and PT. It will re-run Saturday, November 13 (12 noon and 10:00 PM), and on Sunday, November 14 (8:00 PM. and 10:50 PM). Sunday also includes five ILM-effects films starting at 2:00 PM with Jumanji, followed by Hook, Jurassic Park III, Twister and Starship Troopers.

The hour-long special has interviews with filmmakers George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau, actors Samuel L. Jackson and Robin Williams, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and John Lasseter, the chief creative officer at Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios.

Film and television shows featured in the special include The Abyss, Avatar, Forrest Gump, Jumanji, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Robot Chicken, Star Trek (2009), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Transformers, Twister, Young Sherlock Holmes and The War of the Worlds (2005), which starred narrator Cruise (ah, well, that explains it).


Thursday, 21 October 2010

In April 2009, Anthony Daniels filmed his part in the upcoming Star Tours II. Here are some photos from the shoot.

Queue Movie

Disney Parks has released a preview of the video which will be shown in the waiting queue for the new revamped prequelized ride.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Watch this video.  Wait until the end.  What is going on?  Is that a Star Wars escape pod?

The electronics chain's latest ads will feature the droid pair - including original C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels - breaking into one of the chain's megastores and examining merchandise ranging from cameras to washing machines to fridge freezers.

Apparently the pair will be "amazed at the brilliant technology on offer". This isn't so out of this world - as far as we remember there were no washing machines, breadmakers or tumble dryers in the Star Wars movies, though we seem to remember Aunt Beru having some kind of '70s-style food processor and veggie steamer.

So far, so advertising coup. However, as part of its effort to broadcast the breadth of its offering to as wide an audience as possible, Dixons is to broadcast the ads into space, with the help of Deep Space Communications.

Dixons marketing director Niall O’Keeffe told trade rag Marketing Week: "This is about building our retail brands, not price promotions. We’re a completely different organisation than we were four years ago. This is a symbol of the transformation of Dixons.”

But while the campaign may well be a symbol of the transformation of Dixons for O'Keefe, anyone with a modicum of common sense knows it will also be a symbol of humanity's transformation from argumentative yet mainly free Earth-bound species to the intergalactic equivalent of a bag of pepperami sticks.

Reg readers will immediately understand how it is the height of folly to be broadcasting the human race's existence to all the lizard tailed, uber-intelligent alien races residing in deep space, pondering where to source their next meaty meal.

To highlight the Earth's puny technology while simultaneously hyping its primitive yet expansive range of food processors and microwave cookers just exacerbates the horrendous blunder.

The best we can hope for is that the ads don't feature any actual humanoids and that watching aliens confuse the Lucas droids for actual metallic and not very tasty earthlings, before striking us off their shopping list. ®


Apparently a 60 second director's cut of the ad will be shown during this Saturday's X Factor. Enjoy it. While you can.

This looks so funny.  Simon Pegg and Nick Frost team up once again (Hot Fuzz, Shawn Of The Dead) to bring us PAUL.  When on a journey along the Alien highway in Nevada they accidentally bump into an alien called....Paul who asks for their help and then of course thats when the fun begins.  Out Feb 2011.  If its half as funny as Shawn Of The Dead then it will be good.

I want to join the dark side if it looks like this. Where do I sign?  You can order them from here  (They are unlicenced products and not endorsed by Lucasfilm.  You naughty thing you!)

Interview with Lucasfilm's Mike Blanchard on shooting Red Tails with DSLR's.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Michael Giacchino has personally solved the problem of unemployment in America: just win an Oscar for Best Original Score. After Giacchino’s 2010 Oscar win for his amazing score to Up, the composer behind Star Trek and Lost has more jobs than a normal person would know what to do with. He just finished Let Me In, we already found out he will be scoring Andrew Stanton’s John Carter of Mars, but now we have official confirmation that he’s currently scoring Cars 2 for John Lasseter and Pixar, followed by Super 8 and Mission: Impossible 4 for frequent collaborators J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird respectively. He’s also “adapting John Williams’ themes for the refreshed Star Tours ride at Disneyland.”

Variety ran a long profile on the award winning composer which is well worth the time for Giacchino fans. He talks about how he got his start, working on video games and how he considers himself more of a storyteller than a musician because “It’s not about what I’m doing; it’s about what this piece of art needs to help propel it to the next level.”
He’ll be propelling not only the films mentioned above but also Monte Carlo, a family film starring Selena Gomez for The Family Stone director Thomas Bezucha as well as I’m With Cancer (or Live With It, whatever it’s called now) with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon Levitt.
While it’s not a surprise to hear Giacchino’s name attached to the Abrams and Bird films, it’s a bit more surprising to hear that he’s doing Cars 2 and Star Tours. Each of those properties already had an Oscar winning composer at its helm - Randy Newman and John Williams - so we can only speculate to why the composer changed and what that might say about the themes or feel of both works. Any speculation?

Earlier this week , ex-LucasArts developers Haden Blackman and Cedrick Collomb announced the formation of a new developer, Fearless Studios. Despite having just left LucasArts, Blackman says they are not opposed to the idea of working with the Star Wars publisher in the future, possibly even on a sequel to Blackman's biggest past project, the Force Unleashed series.

Speaking to Industry Gamers , Blackman revealed that Fearless Studios "would absolutely consider a relationship with LucasArts in the future, and would even consider developing The Force Unleashed 3 as part of our portfolio, provided we had a proper schedule to do it justice." He even went so far as to say that the team has "ideas about how to improve the gameplay and where the story might go next."

Blackman was an executive producer on both of the Force Unleashed games as well as a writer for the second.

Monday, 18 October 2010

From  Why not pop over there and read the article

Dianna Agron's Spielberg Surprise

Dianna Agron was shocked when iconic director Steven Spielberg knew her and wanted her to work on a film he was producing.
Dianna Agron was "flabbergasted" when Steven Spielberg knew who she was.
The 'Glee' actress met the iconic film director earlier this year, and was surprised when he knew who she was and wanted her to star in 'I Am Number Four', an action movie he was producing.
She said: "This project kind of came full circle because in January I had met Steven Spielberg. He had said, 'You know, there is this awesome script and we're interested in you but you're not available because it shoots in October.' And I was just flabbergasted that he knew who I was."
Initially she was worried she wouldn't be able to work on the project because of her schedule for Ryan Murphy's 'Glee' - in which she plays cheerleader Quinn Fabray - but managed to work out a plan.
She told "My manager, love her, was like, 'We can shoot for this.' and I said, 'You're crazy. The shoot goes too long and it's not going to match with the break.'
"Luckily, I read the script, and I loved it. I met the director D.J. Caruso and we just bonded so quickly. Both the film and the show worked around each other. So I'm here because of very many things, people, luck, patience, and my manager being persistent."
'I Am Number Four' - which also stars Timothy Olyphant, Kevin Durand and Alex Pettyfer - is due for release in early 2011.

Main Theme.  Hans Zimmer with his usual style never fails to deliver and this main theme to Crimson Tide is an absolute cracker.  Turn the volume up and wait for that amazing build up!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Indiana Jones Adult Costume
Click for larger image and other views

Indiana Jones Adult Costume

 from $16.99 to $50

Really great idea and seems like good quality too.  Just don't lose your hat.

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Celebrating All the work from George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and John Williams. All the latest news updated daily. We are geeks and huge fans of their works. from Lucasarts to Lucasfilm, Star Wars to Indiana Jones. We will try to bring all the latest everyday. We will also report on other fandoms and geek stories. Follow us on Twitter or on Facebook. Feel free to let us know what you feel about our site or if you have an article you would like us to post.

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