Tuesday, 30 November 2010

RICKY Gervais towers over Warwick Davis - but he reckons the 3ft 6ins Brit actor, 40, is head and shoulders above his comedy rivals.



The pair were filming new BBC2 sitcom Life's Too Short in Central London.
Ricky, 49, who wrote the show with comedy partner Stephen Merchant, said: "Warwick is one of the funniest people in the world.
"I laughed so much today I thought I'd burst."

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have cast Warwick Davis to star in their new TV series Life’s Too Short.  Davis, who was in the Daniel Radcliffe episode of Gervais and Merchant’s series Extras, will be the center of, “an observation comedy which follows Warwick’s day-to-day life in a small world where big things happen.”  Says Gervais, “We’re having so much fun working with Warwick.  Pound for pound he is one of the funniest men I know.”  According to Variety, Gervais and Merchant will appear in minor roles.
The 3′ 6″ actor’s previous roles include Wicket in Return of the Jedi, Marvin in A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005),  Charms instructor Filius Flitwick in the Harry Potter films, and most importantly, he is the star of all six Leprechaun films.

Monday, 29 November 2010

From The BBC


The British Film Institute (BFI) is to take over the funding role played by the UK Film Council before it was abolished by the government in July.
From April 2011, the BFI will be responsible for distributing lottery money to film-makers based in the UK.
Regional agency Film London will take on the Film Council's role in promoting the UK as a film-making destination.
Greg Dyke, chair of the BFI, described the announcement as "a bold move".
"The decision is a great vote of confidence for the BFI," he said, welcoming "a bold move to create a single champion for film in the UK."
"What we will do now is make sure that our investment in film is properly targeted and transparent," he added.
"The BFI will be the flagship body for the delivery of the UK film policy," said Ed Vaizey, minister for Culture and the Creative Industries.
The BFI will also take charge of public funding to support film in the nations and the regions, as well as audience development and education.
The institute currently looks after the national film archive, runs education programmes and organises the London Film Festival, among other things.
Hits and misses
Colin Firth The King's Speech starring Colin Firth was funded by the UK Film Council
The BBC's arts correspondent, Will Gompertz, said the BFI having to turn itself into a Lottery distributor is bound to mean an increase in red tape and costs.
Though the organisation has been involved in film production in the past, it will be a big change for what has largely been an academic institution.
The BFI has not directly funded large-scale film production since 1999, when that function was delegated to the Film Council.
However, the Institute will not take on all of the Film Council's previous roles.
Regional agency Film London will be responsible for encouraging foreign film-makers and studios to make and post-produce their films in the UK.
Film London's chief executive, Adrian Wootton, welcomed its national remit, saying it was "well placed to take on this responsibility".

Start Quote

One very senior and successful film producer I spoke to thought it was a bad move as the BFI is an academic institution based around an archive, not philosophically or corporately set up for the vulgar activity of making commercial movies”
End Quote
Formed in 2000, the UK Film Council backed several successful movies, among them Vera Drake, Fish Tank and In the Loop.
But it also supported a number of flops and was criticised for being unwieldy and costly to run.
Though the government recently cut the grant for film by 30%, Mr Vaisey confirmed on Monday that the £28m lottery grant the industry receives would be increased to around £43m by 2014.
According to a statement released on Monday, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the BFI will soon begin a review on building a more sustainable British film industry.
Irvin Kershner Has Died

Irvin Kershner - the man who gave us some of the most indelible moments in cinema history with The Empire Strikes Back - has died. He was 87.
Kersh, as he was fondly known, died at his home following a long illness.
He was, of course, best known for directing The Empire Strikes Back, arguably the greatest chapter in the Star Wars saga (and which celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year). But Kershner also made contributions to other franchises, directing RoboCop 2 and Sean Connery's last appearance as James Bond in the 'unofficial' 007 flick, Never Say Never Again.
Having fought in World War II, Kershner began his career by teaching film at the University of Southern California, but quickly made the move behind the camera via a detour as a stills photographer and TV director, calling the shots on Stakeout On Dope Street in 1958.
A decent career followed, in which he directed the likes of Sean Connery in A Fine Madness, Richard Harris in The Return Of A Man Called Horse, and Faye Dunaway in 1978's Eyes Of Laura Mars (based on John Carpenter's screenplay).
It was this movie that persuaded George Lucas, looking for someone to take the reins on his Star Wars sequel, to approach Kershner to direct The Empire Strikes Back. The rest is movie history: Kershner's no-frills storytelling style, coupled with a strong script and an imaginative visual pallet, gave Empire a gravitas that marked it out as an instant classic.
Kershner only directed twice more on film, with Never Say Never Again and Robocop 2, but he also made a habit of appearing in films, showing up in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation Of Christ and, of all places, Steven Seagal's On Deadly Ground.
His last contribution to film was a cameo as Statistics Professor in the 2005 film, Berkeley - but Kershner's unmistakeable contribution to film history had already been made. For Yoda, for Vader telling Luke, "I am your father", for Cloud City, for Lando, for the battle of Hoth, for the asteroid field chase, for Boba Fett, for Lobot, for Wampas, for Tauntauns, for "I thought they smelt bad... on the outside!", for "I love you"/"I know", for Chewie screaming in pain as Han is frozen in carbonite, and for the Empire striking back, we'll never forget the legendary Irvin Kershner. Rest in peace, Kersh.

FROM http://www.empireonline.com/news/story.asp?NID=29588
This is a video showing my Star Wars Give-a-show Projector.  I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Corey Feldman, one of the infamous treasure hunters from the original film, says the cast and crew wants to get together for a sequel to “Goonies.”
Feldman, now 39, told the Hollywood Reporter that everyone from writer Steven Spielberg to co-star Sean Astin to director Richard Donner would be on board.
“I would do it if [the studio] was serious,” Feldman said, “but unfortunately they can’t seem to get it together.”
Feldman says one big concern about making a sequel is putting out a movie that doesn’t live up to the original.
If we go and throw a sequel out there that’s lesser [in quality,] then suddenly we may hurt this continuous cash cow.”
Feldman also said there’s been talks of doing a Broadway musical and that he’d be open to playing a role in it if it ever came to fruition, but he made a point to say he’d never be part of a remake.

Friday, 26 November 2010

A third game in the adorable LEGO Star Wars series, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, has been dated for February 15 in North America and February 17 in Europe.
Originally due for Autumn 2010, the new dates now miss the busy end-of-year holiday season, instead opting for a less congested time, without having to compete so quite directly with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or the new Xbox 360 Kinect Sensor.
The game follows events depicted in the Clone Wars animated TV series, just as LEGO Star Wars I and II did with the Star Wars films, and LEGO Harry Potter Parts 1-3 followed the first few Harry Potter books and films.
LEGO Star Wars III is being developed for the Nintendo DS, Wii, PSP, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Queensland's Climate Change and Sustainability Minister, Kate Jones, says filming of a new Steven Spielberg science fiction television series is bringing money and jobs into the state.
Filming for the series Terra Nova has taken place at Natural Bridge and further shooting will start today at Cedar Creek in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Ms Jones has told State Parliament the Springbrook and Tamborine national parks will get international exposure.
"The production is also great for our state's bottom line with filming of the 13 episodes set to inject more than $54 million into the economy and it's creating hundreds of jobs, with 80 per cent of the crew, cast and extras from right here in Queensland," she said.
Ms Jones says Spielberg has confirmed what Queenslanders already know.
"We don't need Steven Spielberg to tell us that Queensland is home to some of the world's most beautiful places and we're very pleased that he will be injecting these jobs and showcasing Queensland's national parks to the world," she said.

Peter Jackson has revealed that there has is no ego between himself and Steven Spielberg on their new movie The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.
The two Oscar winning filmmakers have teamed up, Spielberg is directing while Jackson is producing, for a 3D animated version of the hit cartoon.
And while both directors have huge experience behind the camera and in the editing room Jackson insists that there has been fall outs between the pair.
Speaking to Empire magazine Jackson said: "There is no ego. I don’t care if my ideas are taken on board or not, and Steven is the same.
"The problems with collaborations, in my experience, only occur when one of the parties is insecure or has an ego.


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Obviously these are not for sale now so please don't try and order.  Click each image for a bigger version.  Really want that 10th Anniversary sweat shirt.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Sunday, 21 November 2010

It’s been announced that UK based game developers Travellers Tales will be putting their skills into yet another LEGO game, this time around it will be Pirates of the Caribbean getting the block building makeover.

Travellers Tales have already converted some classic film titles into LEGO including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman and Harry Potter so it’s no great surprise to see another successful film franchise given the LEGO overhaul.

The game will be based on the first 3 films and will feature 20 levels and 70 playable characters and will include a two player co-op mode. I’m a big fan of the LEGO franchise and was pleased to see that in LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 a few changes were added to mix things up to stop the LEGO series becoming stale.

It’ll be interesting to see what new features will be added to POTC and will hopefully included some amazing ship battles using the good ol’ LEGO cannons like I had on my pirate island as a kid!

The Lego Pirates of the Caribbean game release date is May 2011 and will be released on PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, PSP and DS around the same time that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is released in the cinema.
Dead Space 2 is going to sound just as creepy as the first one did, thanks to returning composer Jason Graves. The first game's soundtrack won critics and gamers over, and was even awarded two BAFTA awards -- one for Original Score and the other for Use of Audio. 
Graves says that he wrote a string quartet concerto for this sequel, and it represents Isaac's vulnerable side. It was recorded by top musicians at the famous Skywalker Sound.
"The score really runs the gamut as you play through the game. There are much bigger and scarier pieces along with quieter, more personal moments to counterbalance them. I wrote for string quartet to portray Isaac's vulnerable side. It's quite the emotional arc, but of course still done in a very 'Dead Space' way." - Jason Graves, Composer

FORMER Neighbours hunk Dean Geyer has landed a role in Steven Spielberg's next big thing.

Dean Geyer
Dean Geyer has landed a plum acting role. Source: HWT Image Library

Geyer, who just wrapped an action blockbuster in Hollywood, will appear in the uber director's sci-fi series, Terra Nova.
The ex-Australian Idol favourite starred in Never Back Down 2 and his part in the Jurassic Park-style time travel series will turn the heads of Hollywood studio bosses.
Geyer returns to Melbourne from Los Angeles on Monday and is ecstatic about the role alongside Life on Mars star Jason O'Mara and Avatar villain Stephen Lang.
Spielberg and Tom Hanks' Melbourne made mini-series, The Pacific, was a launching pad for the career of Aussie export Claire van der Boom.
Production on the Queensland-based Terra Nova has started with an air date expected mid-next year.


Saturday, 20 November 2010

Steven Spielberg once said he was opposed to "making-of" documentaries, because they spoil the magic. Director's cut DVDs, with their extras, has caused Spielberg to reconsider.
Even so, on the weekend of the first-of-two-parts final Harry Potter movie, some fans may feel the same way about the documentary A Year in the Life of J.K. Rowling. Could it be the less one knows about the creative process behind Harry Potter, the more one is apt to enjoy its fantasy world?
It helps that A Year in the Life is respectful of both its material and its audience. The film shows how a novel goes from imagination to print. In the case of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, that meant secrecy, from the manuscript being locked away in a suitcase to the book-signing at midnight on the day of Deathly Hallows' release.
A Year in the Life is intimate and sensitive, a portrait of the artist dealing with the pressure of knowing the world will be hanging on her every word. (CBC News Network; 7 and 10 p.m.)

From http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/movie-guide/woman+behind+wizard/3858860/story.html
From http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-20023275-233.html

A couple weeks ago, I showed you a sneak preview of one of the most surprising iPhone games ever, Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner, which combines seemingly traditional space combat with augmented reality (AR) for a decidedly unique "Star Wars" experience.
As I said then, "It's like the PC classic 'TIE Fighter' mixed with the ingenious UFO on Tape mixed with the Layar Reality Browser."
But would the AR gimmick work? Or would the entire game feel like some weird novelty? Well, Falcon Gunner just hit the App Store, so I'm ready to give you an answer.
Falcon Gunner is priced at $4.99 and compatible with only the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPod Touch 4G. It casts you as none other than Luke Skywalker and plops you in the Millennium Falcon's gunner turret.
To control the turret, you rotate and tilt your iPhone while aiming your quad laser with an onscreen joystick. It's not easy, and in fact I had better luck leaving the joystick alone and just maneuvering enemies into the target reticle.
Without the AR component, Falcon Gunner looks and plays like a traditional arcade-style shooter, the action unfolding near the Death Star, asteroid fields, Star Destroyers, and so on. John Williams' classic soundtrack underscores the battles, along with some hokey voice-overs that, quite frankly, sound nothing like Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher. Quite frankly, it's all a little bland. Been there, blasted that.
Enable AR, however, and the outer-space backdrops disappear, replaced by real-time images from your camera lens. At the same time, the compass or gyroscope kicks in, meaning you now steer your turret by steering yourself. It sounds weird and looks even weirder, but trust me: it's really, really cool.
So what you do is plop yourself in an office chair, making sure you've got room for full 360-degree spins, then start blasting. (You could always stand in place, too, but you literally might make yourself so dizzy as to fall down.) I'm as surprised as anyone, but TIE-fighter combat with your own real-world backdrop is just crazy fun.
Will the novelty wear off after a few weeks? Probably, but at least the game keeps you coming back by awarding credits you can use to mod the Falcon with extra weapons and shields. (Alternately, you can buy upgrades if you don't have the patience to earn them.) If only THQ would build multiplayer into this thing, then you'd have a game for the ages.

Actor recalls doing his own stunts and Lando Calrissian impressions on small-budget set.


Give credit to the folks behind "Skyline." They've managed to keep their story under wraps; no easy feat in an age of 24-hour, Web-enabled fanboy fixation. Yes, we know aliens invade Los Angeles. Yes, we know they wreak some serious CG-destruction on the city and its denizens. But what exactly are those tentacled baddies doing on Earth?
Don't expect to find out before the flick hits theaters this Friday, as it hasn't been screened for the media, and stars have been impressively tight-lipped about plot details. But know this: Things do not end well for the citizens of L.A.

"This is not a Disney movie," star Eric Balfour told us when he stopped by the MTV Newsroom. "There is no happy ending."
That's in contrast to the actual experience the cast and crew had filming the small-budget flick. Balfour and his pals shot the entire production in the apartment complex where directors Greg and Colin Strause live. There were no trailers. The actors would take naps on beds in the brothers' rooms, and yet they all had a blast during what Balfour termed a renegade shoot filled with improvisation between himself and co-star Donald Faison.
"We're not stick-by-the-script guys," Balfour said. "It's not easy for Donald to be serious. He's a funny dude. He'd vacillate between channeling Will Smith and ['Star Wars' badass] Lando Calrissian. At one point, he was doing Lando in a scene, but not very well, and I had to take him aside and do an impersonation of Lando for him. Mine was better."
While the film certainly seems to have a big-budget scope, the production was a fraction of the size of something out of the "Star Wars" franchise. And there were moments Balfour felt more than a little unsafe.
"There were points where we're being hung on these wires 50 feet above the roof of this building, being thrown over the edge of this building. I kept thinking one of those wires was gonna snap," Balfour said. "There was definitely stuff that we did that you wouldn't have gotten away with in a studio movie. They wouldn't have let you. It made it fun. You got to live this crazy dream of running and jumping and fighting aliens. How cool is that?"
Quite cool, if the reaction at Comic-Con this summer is any gauge. Footage had fanboys buzzing. Most of them, at least.
"You have a really open-minded side of that sci-fi fanboy crowd that is just excited and stoked because they've been given glimpses into how unique this movie is," Balfour said. "Then you have this very hard-to-please side of the fanboy crowd that's going, 'Is this "Independence Day 2" or "War of the Worlds 3"?' I understand some of their concerns. ... I'm pretty excited to have those guys see the movie more than anyone else. The fact is, it's not 'Independence Day' at all."


Friday, 19 November 2010

Chewbacca Riding a Giant Squirrel Chasing Down Nazis

Chewbacca Riding a Giant Squirrel Chasing Down Nazis

Tyler Edlin was commissioned to create the wonderfully bizarre painting “Chewie Riding a Giant Cute Squirrel Chasing Down Nazis”.

I asked my friend Gary what he would like a for a wedding present. At first he said Chewbacca riding a giant squirrel into battle against an unseen force living in the shadows.

He added, “give him long flowing fur and his mount should look adorable. He should be riding to expected death on a last charge.”
Steven Spielberg lunched Thursday at Millie's restaurant in Richmond with officials from the Virginia Film Office, reports our colleague Anita Kumar. No word why Spielberg was in town, but he's said to be interested in a film about Abraham Lincoln. "I asked a couple members of his entourage if they were making a movie in Richmond and one woman replied 'maybe,'" said Aaron Ruby, a PR exec who spotted Spielberg as he walked in the front door. A film office spokeswoman wasn't talking.

By The Reliable Source
 FROM http://voices.washingtonpost.com/reliable-source/2010/11/this_just_in_steven_speilberg.html
Remember Lincoln? The movie Steven Spielberg was supposed to direct with Liam Neeson set to star but films such as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn and War Horse always seemed to get in the way? Then news of Robopocalypse cropped up recently, which seemed to put a nail in the project, especially after it was learned Neeson was no longer lined up for the lead role. Well, scratch all that, because it's back.

In a press release sent out today, Spielberg and Stacey Snider, Co-Chairman and CEO of DreamWorks Studios announced Daniel Day-Lewis had been cast in the lead role as Lincoln with filming expected to begin in the fall of 2011 for release in the fourth quarter of 2012 through Disney's Touchstone distribution label.

Quoted in the release Spielberg said, "Daniel Day-Lewis would have always been counted as one of the greatest of actors, were he from the silent era, the golden age of film or even some time in cinema's distant future. I am grateful and inspired that our paths will finally cross with Lincoln"

"Throughout his career, he has been exceptionally selective in his choice of material," added Stacey Snider, "which makes us feel even more fortunate that he has chosen to join with us for Lincoln."

Pulitzer Prize winner, Tony Award winner, and Academy Award nominated writer Tony Kushner penned the screenplay, which is an adaptation of Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln." The story will focus on the political collision of Lincoln and the powerful men of his cabinet on the road to abolition and the end of the Civil War.

Robopocalypse, an adaptation of Daniel H. Wilson's book of the same name exploring the fate of the human race following a robot uprising, was always looking to begin shooting in January 2012 for a 2013 release through Touchstone Pictures. So Lincoln looks like it will come right after The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, which is set for a December 23, 2011 release, and War Horse releasing on December 28, with Robopocalypse to follow.


Cartoonist Chuck Forsman retold Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark in Popeye-style art this week,  selling 100 prints in 48 hours. Each print sold for $20 a piece.
The National Post had more: “Whereas Spielberg’s masterpiece clocks in at 115 minutes, it takes, oh, 25 seconds to finish Forsman’s 33-panel comic, which is actually six separate strips depicting the movie’s most famous scenes — the massive boulder chasing Indy through a cave; the poisoned monkey; the love scene; the melting faces.”
Forsman ordered another 100 prints of the comic and will maintain the original sale price. Forsman hopes to work on original ideas, but he is open to more Popeye-style art. Possible films he may tackle include The Goonies, Jaws, and the Indiana Jones sequels.

In 1929, the character of Popeye the Sailor Man was first featured in Thimble Theatre by E.C. Segar. A mere guest in his debut strip, Popeye soon became a star.

Visit http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/indiana-jones-popey_b16341

Thursday, 18 November 2010

1600x1200  Makes a great wallpaper - THX.  Click the image for a larger version and again to zoom in.
    LucasArts announced a downloadable add-on for Star Wars
    : The Force Unleashed II. In the DLC, Starkiller will travel to the forest moon of Endor.

    In an interview with IGN, LucasArts executive producer Gio Corsi confirmed that you'll be battling the cute and cuddly Ewoks. Like the Hoth DLC from the first Force Unleashed game, the Endor mission takes place in the alternate "Infinities" storyline. In that storyline, Starkiller becomes Palpatine's apprentice and goes around killing all the goody-two-shoes. Presumably he's heading to Endor to prevent the pesky Rebel Alliance from destroying the second Death Star.

    The Endor DLC will be released later this year. With regards to price, LucasArts said this through the game's official Facebook page: "As a thank you to the fans who stuck with us, the DLC will only be a buck on both PSN and XBLA."
    Greg Zeschuk, who is one of the co founders of developer BioWare and the current Group Creative Officer, has said that the free to play model is becoming more interesting for MMO developers while also suggesting that the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic will rely on subscriptions when it launches.

    Speaking to Videogamer.com the developer talked about Korea as a model of how things might look in a few years but said, “even there it's not fully dominant. Even while there's a lot of free-to-play games there, there are still subscription MMOs in Korea. It's one of the elements, it could even become the dominant one at some point, but at the same time it doesn't preclude other opportunities.”

    But he believes that the choice between free to play and subscription based needs to be made very early during the development process, allowing the game creators to actually create the experience to suit the business model.

    He stated, “The expectation is that for a subscription it will be deeper and have other longer-term benefits that perhaps would be as significant in a free-to-play game. Or maybe the free-to-play game will offer the exact same thing, but it's going to cost you the exact same thing anyway.”

    His comments suggest that Star Wars: The Old Republic is too far along in the development process to actually get the mechanism needed for microtransactions.

    Electronic Arts has not talked about the pricing model for the game but rumors are saying that the publisher has invested more than 100 million dollars in The Old Republic until now, a sum of money that can only be recuperated if a subscription model is used and a lot of gamers are attracted to the new Star Wars MMO.

    From http://news.softpedia.com/news/Star-Wars-The-Old-Republic-Is-Unlikely-to-Have-Microtransactions-165489.shtml

    Wednesday, 17 November 2010

    Joystiq has received confirmation from LucasArts that the company has made a "minor adjustment in staffing" in the form of some company layoffs today. The information came via a tweet by developer George Broussard (#georgeb3dr) earlier today.

    Broussard asserts in a subsequent tweet that those laid off "come from a team working on an unannounced game," though few specifics have been confirmed by LucasArts.

    "We remain committed to our internal studio -- and to fostering relationships with trusted external partners -- in order to deliver quality games that amaze and inspire fans," a company representative told Joystiq.

    Today's layoffs mark the second time LucasArts has cut staff in the latter half of 2010. Back in September, the company shed employees, some of whom were rumored to be members of The Force Unleashed 2 development team.

    As fans of Harry Potter get ready for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1, news has surfaced that indicates director Steven Spielberg wanted to make Harry Potter an animated franchise. According to The L.A. Times, Alan Horn, President of Warners Bros., revealed that Steven Spielberg wanted to turn Harry Potter into an animated franchise. Horn stated that Warner Bros. wanted Spielberg to be involved in Potter, but weren’t interested in an animated series of films.
    "I did think it would be worthwhile for Steven Spielberg to direct," Horn said. "We offered it to him. But one of the notions of DreamWorks’ and Steven’s was, ‘Let’s combine a couple of the books, let’s make it animated,’ and that was because of the [visual effects and] Pixar had demonstrated that animated movies could be extremely successful."
    Horn went on to reveal that he understood the Harry Potter vision of Spielberg but wanted a different direction for the franchise. "Because of the wizardry involved, they were very effects-laden. So I don’t blame them. But I did not want to combine the movies, and I wanted it to be live action."

    Tuesday, 16 November 2010

    Clone Wars‘ Jedi apprentice Ahsoka Tano gets a more modest costume this week.
    After two seasons trotting around the universe half-naked in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Anakin Skywalker’s female understudy is finally dressing the part of a mostly modest Jedi warrior.
    Say goodbye to the tube top, Ahsoka.
    Ahsoka Tano’s costume change, viewable in the exclusive first-look image above, debuts Friday in The Clone Wars‘ new episode, “Heroes on Both Sides,” according to a Lucasfilm representative.
    The wardrobe upgrade is overdue: Nearly two years ago, Wired.com complained about Ahsoka’s tube-top-and-miniskirt costume, which was strangely revealing in light of the fact that most Jedis rock full-length robes, even on the desert hell of Tattooine.
    The Clone Wars‘ supervising director Dave Filoni said Ahsoka’s new, improved look has nothing to do with fallout from her near-nakedness. (A Lucasfilm publicist denies that the company has received any complaints about Ahsoka’s skimpy costume other than ours).
    Instead, the female warrior’s endless battles with dim-witted robots, calculating bounty hunters and Sith killers drove her to wear more clothes and hew closer to Star Wars continuity, according to Filoni. She’s also getting a weapons boost, boasting two green lightsabers rather than one.

    While The Clone Wars‘ male Jedis wear floor-length robes, its woman warriors like Ahsoka Tano (left) and Aayla Secura (right) have had much more skin in Star Wars‘ sci-fi game.
    Images courtesy Lucasfilm
    “Over the course of the series so far, our characters have been affected by the conflict, so the changes we are seeing are a reflection of what they’ve gone through and how they’ve changed,” Filoni told Wired.com. “We’re getting closer to the events of Episode III, and the look of the series is moving toward that look and those designs.”
    Ahsoka’s not alone in her transformation, according to a Lucasfilm representative who said other primary Clone Wars characters, like Anakin and Obi-Wan, are also in line for costume changes.
    Filoni said that’s at least partly because of improved animation techniques, which have boosted productivity while generating character models he called “much more expressive.”
    “As a weekly series, we’ve been pushing ourselves to do things that haven’t been done in TV animation, and it’s always a struggle just to get it done at all,” Filoni said. “But we are learning tricks that help to streamline the process, and we continue to build our asset library. We’re at a place where we can explore and develop new and improved character assets for some of our primary players.”
    Whatever the reason, it’s good to see Ahsoka dressed more appropriately. In a limitless Star Wars universe dominated by males maneuvering for political and military primacy, it’s good to see that the few females in The Clone Wars are serving a higher function than eye candy for salivating fanboys.

     The following was an article from http://www.pittsburghlive.com.  Unfortunately John Williams had to cancel his appearance at the Heinz Hall due to back problems but I thought the article was worth posting as its a nice insight to the genius.

    Composer and conductor John Williams doesn't have to work. He's the most successful composer alive, with more 100 film scores to his credit -- ranging from "Jaws" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" to the "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter" series. He's 78, been nominated for 45 Oscars, won 21 Grammys and earned a lot of money.
    But Williams hardly even takes vacations. He's so busy that he was especially delighted when he was able to schedule another visit to Heinz Hall to conduct the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
    "I haven't seen them for a long time. It's hard for me to find an opportunity to get out," he says. "My relationship with the orchestra goes back a while, before the earliest days of (Andre) Previn's tenure (as music director), when he was a guest conductor, in the '60s, I think. It's a privilege and joy to conduct them. I consider them my friends and will be delighted to see them again."
    Williams will conduct the Pittsburgh Symphony in a concert of music he's written for the movies on Tuesday evening at Heinz Hall, Downtown. The repertoire will include music from the scores for "Indiana Jones," "Harry Potter" and "Star Wars" films, as well as "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "E.T." and "Schindler's List." Some will be performed with film clips.
    "Heinz Hall is a place I love very much," Williams says. "I recorded there with Itzhak Perlman. Itzhak always says the best hall to record him in is Heinz Hall."
    Perlman recorded "Cinema Serenade" with Williams and the symphony in 1997 for Sony Classical. Perlman also made several of his best recordings for EMI Classics at Heinz Hall with Previn and the symphony.
    The closest Williams gets to an annual vacation is when he goes to the Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, Mass. It's the summer home of the Boston Symphony, and he goes every summer.
    Tanglewood is "one of the most beautiful places in the country. My workload is pretty light. Most importantly, it's a break from the deadlines of the commercial world," he says.
    At home in Southern California, Williams relaxes every day by walking for an hour over the beautiful Bel-Air Country Club golf course near his home. "It's an antidote to all the sitting I have to do writing music. The last time I was in Pittsburgh, a couple of the members of the orchestra invited me out to play the course in Oakmont," he says. "It was way beyond my meager abilities, but some of them are avid golfers."
    Movie fans will want to know, if they don't already, that his recent sit-down work includes a film score for another collaboration with filmmaker Stephen Spielberg, "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn." It is scheduled for release in 2011. Williams expects to finish the music by February or March.
    Williams also has written a large body of concert music. He's just completed a quartet for violinist Jimmy Lin, who is music director of a festival in La Jolla, Calif., where it will receive its premiere this summer. Williams was particularly interested in the unusual combination of instruments -- violin, cello, clarinet and harp.
    One concert piece done, Williams has started another, an oboe concerto for Keisuke Wakao, assistant principal of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal of the Boston Pops. Williams is laureate conductor of the Boston Pops, after serving as its conductor from 1980 to 1993.
    Conducting is a special love for him, partly for visceral reasons.
    "I always say to the audience that the podium is the best seat in the house and it truly is because the sound is beautiful there -- immediate and intimate and powerful," he says.
    But it's much more than just sounds for Williams.
    "The music that our orchestras play consists of some of the greatest thinking, at least until now, of the Western mind," he says. "The organization of sound throughout the centuries has given us this precious heritage. The mechanical success of people who have perfected these instruments, who can perform fantastic feats before our eyes and ears, is also a magnificent accomplishment. The combination of all of this and what all this music means to us creates an experience which, for listeners and players and with perhaps more drama for the conductor, is one of the most thrilling things one can do in life."

    John Williams
    Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
    'John Williams and the Music of the Movies'
    Presented by: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with John Williams, conductor
    When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
    Admission: $40-$150
    Where: Heinz Hall, Downtown
    Details: 412-392-4900 or website

    From http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/ae/music/s_707872.html

    Monday, 15 November 2010

    Steven Spielberg is working on a new movie biopic of legendary British racing driver James Hunt, according to a U.K. report.
    Executives at the star's DreamWorks studio are said to be signing up Tormented star Alex Pettyfer to play the driver in the lookback at Hunt's life.
    A DreamWorks spokesperson says, "I can confirm there are plans for a James Hunt film to be made."
    A source tells Britain's Sunday Express, "Negotiations are very advanced and a deal is very close for the film on James Hunt. This is a fantastic story about a very charismatic figure and has all the elements of a great film. Hunt was quite a character."
    Womaniser Hunt became the Formula One champion in 1976 but was left devastated two years later (78) when his pal Ronnie Petersen died during the Italian Grand Prix. Hunt passed away in 1993 after suffering a heart attack.
    One of the co founders of developer BioWare has said that Star Wars: The Old Republic, which is rumored to have already cost more than 100 million dollars up until now, is the right “bet” for both publisher Electronic Arts and for the team working directly on the game.

    Ray Muzyka, who is the Chief Executive Officer at BioWare, told Eurogamer that investing in the game is “really a smart decision. It’s a pretty good bet for a studio group like BioWare to be building right now. We see it as more opportunity than anything else.”

    He added, “The team is a group I’m really proud of. They’re working really hard to deliver this great game. It’s got a lot of content. It’s taking the best of features from other products like MMOs and putting them together with something BioWare’s known for: the story, choice and consequence, but not losing anything in the translation – exploration, combat, customisation, progression.”

    Star Wars: The Old Republic has been shown to the public for quite some time but neither the developer nor the publisher are talking about a clear launch date for the game.

    Players will be able to take charge of a character and explore the universe of Star Wars as it was a few thousand years before the events of the movie series, with the Jedi and Sith fighting, both openly and covertly, over the resources of the galaxy.

    BioWare is focusing on adding more narrative elements than MMOs usually have to The Old Republic and have confirmed that they are aiming to have fully voiced dialogues for the most important story based scenes.

    When Star Wars: The Old Republic launches it will need to compete with the elephant in the subscription based MMO room, the Blizzard made World of Warcraft, which has more than 12 million players at the moment and will probably get a new expansion in the meantime.
    Memoirs of a Geisha Soundtrack
    Becoming a Geisha
    Track Number Six
    John Williams
    Soundtrack Released:2005

    John Williams at his very finest.  The only movie John Williams ASKED to do.

    Sunday, 14 November 2010

    Attention holiday shoppers! If you're looking for a present for the TV fan or history buff in your life, run, don't walk to your nearest Best Buy to pick up HBO's The Pacific.
    We cherished every minute of The Pacific when it originally aired this spring, but we had a special affection for those stories that involved Joseph Mazzello as Eugene "Sledgehammer" Sledge, a gentle Southern kid who miraculously emerged whole from the crucible of war. We just caught up with Mazzello, whom you might remember from his key role as the little boy in Jurassic Park, and chatted about his experiences on the shoot, the meaning of the series as a whole, and whether or not Steven Spielberg handed him the part on a silver platter:
    What have you been doing these years since Jurassic Park?Joseph Mazzello: I was in jail. No, just kidding. [Laughs.]
    Hey, it's happened to many young actors.Yeah, I know, I know—that's why it's not that farfetched. But, no, listen, I went to school. I went to USC. I went to film school. I wanted to learn about the other side of the camera a little bit. My parents always instilled in me this feeling of wanting to be a normal person. I never moved out to L.A. as a kid and got into that scene and that whole thing that happens to kid actors that's the reason they go off the deep end. I lived in upstate New York, I went to a regular school, I played kickball—all of the normal things in life were just as important to me as my career. When I got to high school I started turning some things down because I was more interested in regular high school things, as silly as that sounds. And then I wanted to take the SATs, get in [to college] and do the dorm thing and the football games. [But once I got USC] I realized acting is still my number-one thing and still the thing I want to do with my whole life and so I'm trying to do that again.
    You were in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park when you were 10 and then you took years off and re-emerged in a project produced by Steven Spielberg. Had he been wanting to work with you again? Where did he fit into this process?Spielberg is, of course, the decision maker at the end of the day, but as much as I wish that were true and he just called me up at home, and said 'Hey, I have this part for you,' he, much like you, didn't think I was acting anymore. He knew I was going to USC because I had seen him a couple years earlier, but he actually told me that on the day that I showed up for my fourth audition for this thing that he looked at his paper and saw my name and that was the first time he even knew I was auditioning for this.
    Awww…When I got in the room, yes, he gave me a hug, and it was great to see him, but then I knew it was down to business. Steven Spielberg cares too much about his projects to do any actor a favor when $200 million is on the line. He's way too smart for that. I knew he was going to give me a fair shot, I knew that he had known me from the past and had hired me before, so I probably had a leg up there, but then again, I also started thinking 'If he doesn't hire me then does that mean I'm no good anymore?' or 'Does he think I stink now?' All those thoughts went through my head. Luckily, hey, he liked what I did. I actually had to come back in one more time though because Tom Hanks couldn't make that audition and finally, after the fifth audition, I got the part.

    Read the full interview here: http://uk.eonline.com/uberblog/watch_with_kristin/b209856_pacifics_out_on_dvd_see_kid_from.html#ixzz14X6ecr6J

    Saturday, 13 November 2010

    The galaxy far far away will be getting closer when Darth Vader and his storm troopers congregate at The Garde Arts Center in New London.
    What brings the merciless empire to the earthbound Morroccan-themed arts center Nov. 14? The “One-Man Star Wars Trilogy,” written and performed by Charles Ross. His performance, which pays homage to the “Star Wars” films, has been hailed as hilarious.
    The imperialists are comprised of an international group of enthusiastic “Star Wars” fans who come to Ross’ shows — even driving the extra miles to get to more remote parts of the country.
    “It’s adding an ambiance that would be hard to get otherwise ... it brings an air of authenticity,” Ross said of the costumed guests.
    For this show, the imperialists are members of the 501st Connecticut Garrison. Because of an arrangement with “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, they only accept donations for charity when they attend events. The appearance at The Garde will raise money for the Tommy Toy Fund.
    The Connecticut Garrison has 40-45 members, said the group’s publicist, Gary Manion, of Vernon. To join, members must have a costume to organization specifications. The majority of costumes are storm troopers and are hand crafted using molds with different material.
    One of a kind
    The enthusiasm of “Star Wars” fans can be attributed to the movie making such an impression for its time, Manion said.
    “It was one of a kind when it came out — it was something that drew you into it,” he said.
    Unlike the garrison, Ross will be armed with props and will be devoid of special effects on stage — just him and the 40 characters he channels to convey the gist of the “Star Wars” saga.
    “I didn’t see my career going in this direction,” Ross said, who trained as an actor in the classics of Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw. But when he was a young boy growing up on a farm — with no TV — the most compelling VHS tape he owned was “Star Wars,” and it was the one he always popped in.
    “The story appeals to the little guy that’s like Luke Skywalker,” Ross said.
    Skywalker, a disenfranchised farm boy, discovers a hidden lineage that makes him a Jedi knight. At almost warp speed, he is thrust from being a nobody to holding the fate of the galaxy in his palm.
    “He’s kind of whisked away — he loses his home but finds his place in the universe and discovers that, for a moment, he is the most important person in the entire galaxy,” Ross said.
    “Star Wars” broke ground for special effects and costumes, something Ross doesn’t try to replicate. Yet it is his very effort to mime and act his way through the saga that contributes to the show’s humor.
    “You’re taking in a huge spectacle and you make a spectacle of yourself trying to recreate that. I’m not tring to be anything I can’t actually be. The audience fills in the blank with their imagination and memory of the film,” Ross said.
    Luke Skywalker, whom he somewhat resembles, is one of Ross’ favorites — but not because he’s a hero. Rather, Ross likes to portray the whiny side of this character. He also enjoys the emperor, whom he describes as a “big rotten jerk.”
    Even though it’s been seen a million times before, fans can’t seem to get enough of “Star Wars” — to the credit of the story itself.
    “The thing about a good story is it never gets old, because it’s told so well and makes you happy to hear it,” Ross said.
    TO Celebrate 35 years of ILM The Bearded Trio have produced this tribute to them.  Makes a great wallpaper for your desktop.  Enjoy

    Friday, 12 November 2010

    The secrets of Darth Maul are about to be exposed.
    Although the popular and enigmatic villain from "Star Wars: Episode i The Phantom Menace" met his demise in that film, the origins of Darth Maul and the training techniques of the Sith will be depicted in an upcoming episode of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."
    To celebrate the occasion, Lucasfilm and Cartoon Network are hosting free theatrical screenings in 11 cities across the country. On December 07, the screenings will begin in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. On December 08, the action moves to Boston, Dallas and Washington D.C. before traveling to Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle and Phoenix on December 09. The screenings will conclude in San Francisco on December 10.
    As stated earlier, the screenings are free, but fans are asked to bring a new/unwrapped toy to benefit underprivileged children. Hasbro has pledged to match every donation with a "Star Wars" toy.
    Fans can register for the screenings here. [Darth Maul Secrets]
    The episode will debut on Cartoon Network in January and it will also introduce the dangerous new villain Savage Opress, who attempts to follow in the footsteps of his brother Darth Maul by becoming a Sith apprentice.
     Click the link to read more and watch the trailer

    THX, the system developed initially at George Lucas’ LucasFilm, has been acknowledged for its contribution to the advancement of 3D technology.

    The International CES Innovations 2011 Design and Engineering Award was given to THX, acknowledging its work in testing thoroughly the quality of 3DTVs.

    THX’s system uses over 400 tests to measure the quality of 3D hardware, and with the technology still in its infancy, such work will no doubt lead to the progression of hardware, and better products for the consumer market. Rick Dean of THX spoke about the unique nature of the project; “THX has introduced the world’s first and only 3D performance benchmark.”

    3DTVWatcher believes this benchmark will prove an important one in the shaping of the 3D market, and the work of THX is being rightly rewarded.

    The winner of the award, sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association, is determined by a panel of journalists, designers and engineers. Dean continued: “The complexity of 3D technology poses a real challenge for display manufacturers to achieve consistent picture quality.

    THX 3D Certified Displays must be capable of delivering accurate colour and clean signal processing when presenting 3D content, as well as provide consumers a simple one-button solution for getting great 2D and 3D experiences right out of the box.”

    Rest assured then that any 3D TV with the THX certification is a cracker, and worthy of gracing your living room.

    With such dedicated research and innovation driving the technology forward, the concerns over 3D content cannot extend to 3D technology; because all manufacturers will want their products to carry the THX certification.

    Provided that consumers are diligent about their purchases, the certification will prove invaluable in consumer decision making, and this has been acknowledged by Consumer Electronics Association

     Listen to the cockney accent on the bar man! Don't get me started on Greedo's voice.  A little bit camp maybe?

    Both Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf have dropped tidbits to the press about plans for a fifth "Indiana Jones" film, following the $786 million success of "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" in 2008.

    But on the red carpet for the "Morning Glory" premiere this weekend in New York City, Ford told reporters there are currently no plans whatsoever for "Indiana Jones 5."
    Yet Ford told MTV News just the opposite over the weekend when we sat down with him for a chat before the premiere, informing us that Indy creator George Lucas has the project lined up and the 68-year-old actor can't wait for the chance to crack the archeologist's whip once again.
    "It's on George's plate, and I'm hoping he's working hard at it, because I'd look forward to doing it again if the three of us could get together — George, [director] Steven Spielberg, myself — I'd love to do another," he said.
    While he expressed enthusiasm for the project, Ford stopped short of doling out further details, saying only, "I'm not at liberty to tell you what I know and what I don't know."
    This past summer, LaBeouf went into a touch more detail about the production, though he didn't address rumors that the story would take Ford and LaBeouf to the Bermuda Triangle.
    "I got called into Steven's office, and he pitched a little bit to me and it sounds crazy," LaBeouf said. "It sounds really cool."
    Almost two decades passed between the premiere of "The Last Crusade" in 1989 and the debut of "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" in '08. So how much time is going to pass before fans get a chance to buy tickets for a fifth franchise installment?
    "No timeline. While I'm alive, I hope," Ford laughed. "It'll be better for everybody."
    Do you want Harrison and Shia to team up for another "Indiana Jones" installment? Tell us in the comments!
    Check out everything we've got on "Morning Glory."

    Thursday, 11 November 2010

    Eight-time Oscar winner Dennis Muren is the first visual-effects artist to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ahead of Encore’s November 12 documentary about Industrial Light & Magic—the visual-effects arm of LucasFilm where he is creative director—Muren shares behind-the-scenes photos from five of his famous projects: Terminator 2, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Jurassic Park, and E.T.

    “Here, stop-motion master animator Phil Tippett [center], Mike Pangrazio [right], and I stand between two incredible matte paintings used to depict the windswept snowscape of Hoth. Pangrazio, a legendary I.L.M. artist, painted many such paintings during the production of The Empire Strike Back to allow for scenic vistas, practical sets to be extended, or, in this case, a stop-motion puppet of a Tauntaun and rider to be inserted for a story point.”
    “While a number of complex approaches were considered and tested to realize the ghosts that appear at the climax of Raiders of the Lost Ark, in the end, it was model-maker Steve Gawley’s idea to shoot the silken ghost puppets in a tank of water that yielded the haunting realism that Steven [Spielberg] was after.”
    “The melting of Toht, the Nazi villain’s head in Raiders of the Lost Ark, required an innovative approach. After a brainstorming session, it was decided that the head would be sculpted in wax. Artist Chris Walas meticulously added layer upon layer of various color waxes, building each of the underlying forms up until the final face took shape. Filmed at a speed slower than normal, high heat was applied and the head appears to melt rapidly revealing layers of skin, muscle, and bone when played back at normal speed.”
    “Photographing E.T.’s ship posed a considerable challenge. Due to budgetary constraints, we were limited in the scale at which we could build the ship so it ended up being quite small. Adding to that, Steven wanted the ship to be highly reflective so we had to use huge cards to reflect the warm sky into the ship. We also filmed the miniature at 120 frames per second to give the ship a sense of mass.”
    “In this shot, E.T. is on a hilltop overlooking the city. We realized the shot using a combination of a miniature set in the foreground and a matte painting in the background for the city. E.T. was a small puppet mounted to a rod that slid down a track, which gave the appearance that he was walking down the hillside toward the city. A lot of what makes this shot successful is the lighting and composition. The foreground looks a bit foreboding, whereas the cityscape has an almost magical quality about it. Hundreds of twinkling lights beckon him. In a way, it reflects what E.T. is feeling at this point in the story.”

    Terminator 2 was a breakthrough film in many ways, but the digital effects saw a number of impressive breakthroughs. The sequence where Robert Patrick as the T-1000 walks through the security bars was particularly challenging. In order to have Robert’s face and torso warp and bend around the bars, we developed new software called ‘Makesticky.’ The software allowed us to map footage—in this case, the texture of Robert Patrick—onto a C.G. model without it sliding around on the surface and deform it as necessary. We shot Robert alone without the bars, then bars by itself, as well, and combined all three elements digitally into the final shot you see.” 

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