Favreau’s THE JUNGLE BOOK Coming to Blu-Rawr!

With nearly 80 years of films in the Disney pantheon it was inevitable they would dust off some VHS tapes from the vault and do some remakes. On August 30th the Blu-Ray of Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book is available, so let’s talk about the success of Favreau’s vision and what it means for today’s audience.

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Jon Favreau is one of my personal favorites. He’s been a comedic actor alongside Vince Vaughn in Four Christmases and in Couples Retreat with Vince Vaughn! Let’s not forget his role as Eric the Clown in the classic episode of Seinfeld‘s, The Fire. Recently he was Happy Hogan, the bodyguard of Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies and the director of the first two. The first Iron Man was the catalyst of where the Marvel cinematic universe is today. Fav’s is a big supporter of practical special effects using model miniatures, sculptures, and prosthetics aided by CGI to help sell the illusion of reality. This is part of what makes The Jungle Book world so believable and compelling, but also different for the director because 99% of what we see on screen isn’t real. For the first time in his career he’s fully embracing the technology aspect of modern filmmaking, but unlike other auteurs he understands that story first is still king.

I think the characters are all wonderful. Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, Idris Elba and others bring drama and comedy with seamless interactions and passion. Hopefully this doesn’t encourage your kids to start playing with any of the animals on your next trip to the zoo, but these characters are so convincing it’s possible! Parents, watch your kids! Playing with tigers won’t be an issue though because Shere Khan is legitimately scary in the best way. 

This new iteration reaches all generations which is something the older Disney movies sometimes struggled with but have nearly perfected in the last decade. Favreau did a great job and before long may slowly replace the memory of the animated original.

The release includes the bare necessities along with the following special features:

The Jungle Book Reimagined – Favreau sits down with producer Brigham Taylor and visual effects supervisor Robert Legato to discuss The Jungle Book and reflect on the years they devoted to the reimagining of this timeless tale. Discover how Rudyard Kipling’s original stories and the classic animated film influenced their unique approach, witness the technical wizardry that enabled the team to create a believable and thrilling movie-going experience, and learn how they borrowed a page from Walt Disney’s innovation playbook to make it all happen. Lastly, meet the all-star voice cast who help bring the film’s colorful characters to life, as well as the musicians who accent the adventure with a majestic music score.

I Am Mowgli – Follow the extraordinary journey of 12-year-old Neel Sethi, who was selected from thousands of hopefuls worldwide to play Mowgli “alongside” some of today’s biggest movie stars. Get a glimpse of Neel’s life before Hollywood came calling, check out his audition that sealed the deal, and see how a close-working relationship with Favreau brought out his best. Plus, Neel shares how filming The Jungle Book was one wild ride, from working alongside imaginary animals to performing some super-fun stunts.

King Louie’s Temple: Layer by Layer – So, exactly how do you create a musical number featuring one man-cub, a massive, legendary ape and an army of wild and wily monkeys in the Seeonee jungle? Viewers are granted rare and unique access to the development of the “I Wan’na Be Like You” sequence in which King Louie attempts to coerce Mowgli into giving up Man’s deadly “red flower” (fire). A fast-moving musical progression reel showcases storyboards, animatics, Christopher Walken’s recording session and visual effects layers, which ultimately merge to form one of the film’s most memorable scenes.

Audio Commentary – Favreau delivers his scene-by-scene perspective on the live-action adventure The Jungle Book with all the candor and humor you’d expect from this multi-talented actor-writer-director-producer.

The Jungle Book comes out on Blu-Rawr August 30th.

 

ARRIVAL Teaser Trailer Arrives

I honestly haven’t heard much about director Denis Villeneuve’s (Prisoners, Sicario) new project, Arrival, but now it has moved near the top of the list. I had to check that Roger Deakins wasn’t the director of photography because this looks gorgeous. Turns out that Bradford Young (Selma, A Most Violent Year) is taking over those duties after the legendary Deakins had them the last two pictures that Villeneuve made.

I know we’ve had a few ‘Why This Trailer Is Great‘ posts at the early onset of this site, but damn man, you’ve got to give credit where it’s due. I love the mystery, the set up, the intrigue, the wonder. This IS a great teaser, but the full trailer arrives, er, debuts 8/16 and we will give you more thoughts on the full version next week.

Enjoy the teaser below (“Global War” Spot seems to be a little telling, no?) and let us know what you think!

Why The DUNKIRK Teaser Trailer Is Great

A ticking clock. A heartbeat. Waves crashing against an ocean wall. The sounds all in unison growing louder, more pressing and anxious with each second. We see calculated imagery that is steady and precise. Then 33 seconds in we cut to a wall of soldiers.

For the next 17 seconds we have a single shot looking at the faces of young soldiers packed together back to back. Their eyes widen as we hear the whine of a plane engine rapidly getting louder and then they all duck at 50 seconds and we cut to the title and silence.

This is a perfect teaser trailer.

Christopher Nolan’s name is enough to carry excitement for any project he’s involved in and he starts with listing his name and the last three films (The Dark Knight Trilogy being listed as one) he’s made. That is enough to hook basically everyone with even a cursory interest in movies, but the way this trailer is edited is what will stick with moviegoers a year in advance.

Nolan teams with cinematographer Hoyt Van Hoytema for the second time in a row after Interstellar. Anyone who’s seen Hoytema’s work in Spectre knows that he’s got an affinity for wide scenic shots and long single takes (the opening of Spectre is the best part of Spectre) and it looks as if that will be continued here in Dunkirk.

Dunkirk opens summer 2017.

Dawn Is Upon Us: The JUSTICE LEAGUE Trailer Is Here

We may end up looking back on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice as a good thing. As Harvey Dent said in The Dark Knight:

“It’s always darkest before the dawn.”

Is the DC Extended Universe about to reach its dawn? And if so, doesn’t that make the awful misdirection, tone, and story of the aforementioned Dawn of Justice all the more ironic? Or perhaps even poignant?

With first the stunning and refreshing poster for Wonder Woman and then it’s wonderful (yeah, I KNOW) and honestly perfect trailer, we’ve also seen the first image of the Justice League together during the day on a mountain top, and now we have this Comic-Con trailer for Justice League.

And it’s AWESOME.

Is it as good as the Wonder Woman trailer? No, I don’t think so, but it is truly fun. Yes, FUN! There’s jokes! And they’re funny and not cheeky. And it’s looks cool! Zack Snyder never has a problem making things look cool with the exception of about 80% of his last movie, but story and especially humor has never been his strong suit. What we see here in this trailer seems to have all of those elements in play: it’s cool looking (the wave of water that engulfs Aquaman, Cyborg’s aesthetic, all of the Flashes scenes) with a story that looks fun and that’s laid out in the trailer with ease and clarity. That is a HUGE improvement based on what we’ve seen in the previous two films that kicked off the DCEU.

Forgiveness is a good thing to be capable of, but it’s easier to do when those you need and want to forgive step up and help you out. This shift in tone from what we’ve seen in Wonder Woman and Justice League gives me hope that Warner Brothers actually acknowledged the problems and is doing their best to course correct (Geoff Johns, Ben Affleck, Patty Jenkins, James Wan).

I cannot wait for the dawn to come.

Resistance Fighters Unite to Steal Plans for Death Star

Rogue One takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope

(August 15, 2015)—Lucasfilm announced today that their first film in the new standalone Star Wars stories series, “,” has begun principal photography. Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla,” “Monsters”) is directing “Rogue One,” which tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star. The film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and is slated for a December 16, 2016 release.

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The filmmakers have assembled a stellar cast, including Felicity Jones, nominated for an Academy Award® for her leading role in “The Theory of Everything”;

Diego Luna, who was featured in 2008’s Oscar®-winning “Milk” and the critically acclaimed “Killing Them Softly”;

Ben Mendelsohn, recently nominated for an Emmy® for his leading role in “Bloodline” and co-starring in the upcoming “Mississippi Grind”;

Donnie Yen, Hong Kong action star and martial artist who starred in “Ip Man” and “Blade II”;

Jiang Wen, who co-wrote, produced , directed and starred in the award-winning “Let the Bullets Fly” and “Devils on the Doorstep”;

Forest Whitaker, recently featured in the critically-acclaimed Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and winner of an Academy Award® for his leading role in 2006’s “The Last King of Scotland;

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    Mads Mikkelsen, who starred in “The Hunt” and was the memorable villain from 2006’s “Casino Royale”;

    Alan Tudyk, who plays a performance-capture character in “Rogue One,” stars in the soon-to-be-released “Con Man” series and “Trumbo,” which releases this November;

    and Riz Ahmed, who was recently featured in “Nightcrawler” and starred in the BAFTA-winning film “Four Lions.”

    “‘Rogue One’ takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe,” says Kathleen Kennedy. “It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know. Gareth is such an innovative director and I’m so excited to be working with him and the extraordinary ensemble cast he’s selected for ‘Rogue One.’”

    Rogue One - Star Wars Celebration 2016

    Veteran ILM visual effects supervisor John Knoll, who shares a long history with the Star Wars movies.  His vision dating back to the mid-1990s, and originated the idea for the movie. Allison Shearmur (“The Hunger Games: ,” “Cinderella”), John Knoll, Simon Emanuel (“,” “Fast & Furious 6”) and Jason McGatlin (“Tintin,” “War of the Worlds”) are executive producers. Kiri Hart and John Swartz (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) are co-producers.

    To create the lived-in, realistic feel of “Rogue One,” Edwards chose Greig Fraser (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “”) to be his director of photography and Neil Corbould. Filing such movies as, (“Black Hawk Down,” “Gladiator,” “Saving Private Ryan”).  Star Wars and Lucasfilm veteran Doug Chiang (“Star Wars: Episodes I-II,” “Forrest Gump”) and Neil Lamont (supervising art director for the “Harry Potter” series, “Edge of Tomorrow”) will be the production designers. Additional crew members will include stunt coordinator Rob Inch (“World War Z,” Marvel’s “: The First Avenger”), creature effects supervisor Neal Scanlan (“Prometheus”) and co-costume designers Dave Crossman (costume supervisor for the “Harry Potter” series, “Saving Private Ryan”) and Glyn Dillon (costume concept artist for “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Jupiter Ascending”).

    THE TITLE FOR STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII REVEALED