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January 31, 2008

The Spiderwick Premiere is Tonight! + reviews

A number of lucky folks flew down to LA for the world premiere of The Spiderwick Chronicles! I'll update this tomorrow with some details from the event. In the meantime, check out a couple of Spiderwick reviews from the nuts over at aintitcoolnews.

First Harry gets caught up in THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES! then Massawyrm Digs Into THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES!! ~go nuts.

"The effects work by Tippett Studios is again - remarkable. The Brownie Thimbletack is eerily realistic for something so whimsical. But more so, he's a character - one that can blush, get angry, be frustrated and curious. Same with the character of Hogsqueal. He's just a deliciously maniacal friendly creation - and how he blesses a human to see the magical realm - is delightful and grotesque. Very fun."

Actually, ILM did Thimbletack, but it's nice to get an error in our favor once in a while, :) I agree with Harry's comments on Thimbletack though, he looked really good.

Posted by dschnee at 9:42 PM

Cloverfield Sequel Chatter

I'm still with the people that say:
"Leave Cloverfield as what it should be: a thrilling one-off experiment."

"Matt Reeves is in early talks with Paramount to direct a "Cloverfield" sequel, and he has also made a deal with GreeneStreet Films to direct "The Invisible Woman."

Timing of the projects will depend on how quickly Paramount can complete discussions with Reeves, producer J.J. Abrams and scribe Drew Goddard to scare up another monster tale for the "Cloverfield" sequel. There's a good chance the sequel will be Reeves' next film, in which case he will direct "The Invisible Woman" afterward." (Paramount sows 'Cloverfield' sequel)

"Bad Robot producer JJ Abrams tells EW that he's in no rush to get a sequel rolling because he wants to make sure it keeps the integrity of the original. "I wouldn't want to rush into it because of the heat on the movie - Id want to do something that is true to the spirit of what we made."

Producer Bryan Burk adds that the creative team "has fleshed out an entire backstory which, if we're lucky, we might get to explore in future films."

EW writes that possible plots include an attack on another city or telling the same New York event from another perspective." (Entertainment Weekly article)

Posted by dschnee at 7:06 AM

January 29, 2008

Enchanted on DVD & Blu-ray

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release "Enchanted" on DVD & Blu-ray this March 18th.

Extras will include: "Pip's Predicament: A Pop-up Adventure," "Fantasy Comes To Life: 'Happy Working Song,' 'That's How You Know,' 'A Blast at the Ball'," "Deleted Scenes including exclusive intros by director Kevin Lima," "Bloopers."

The Blu-ray edition will include all of the above plus, "The D-Files: Enchanted."

You can pre-order Enchanted a low price over @ Bestbuy and Amazon.

Posted by dschnee at 7:24 AM

January 27, 2008

Cloverfield Box Office Collapses

ahhh dammit... what is it?

"Cloverfield (Paramount) has absolutely "fallen apart" in its 2nd weekend. It managed only $4.5M on Friday, and it'll lumber to a disappointing $13.1M for the weekend. That would be a horrifying 68% drop, and it'll be in a 3-day photo finish with 27 Dresses (Fox), which appears to be headed for $13M after a $4M Friday." (slashfilm.com)

So Clover has collapsed from #1 to #4 this weekend, behind 27 Dresses, Rambo, and Meet the Spartans? son of a... boxofficemojo.com estimates a $12.7 million showing dropping some 68.3% from last weekend... ouch.

Somebody keep this fantastic thrill ride going! ;)

Posted by dschnee at 11:42 AM

January 26, 2008

The Spiderwick Chronicles - Review

The Spiderwick Chronicles has all the elements that make up great kids' movies: a haunted house, a family secret, an ordinary child granted an extraordinary skill, and an emotional subplot that anchors the fantasy within real human experience. Though it doesn’t match the immortal greats like E.T., it comes remarkably close, and provides a genuinely thrilling adventure story that never panders or condescends. It’s hard to come by good kids' entertainment these days, as Alvin and the Chipmunks demonstrates, so weary parents should be especially grateful for this fantasy romp.

Freddie Highmore does double duty, and an American accent to boot, playing twins Jared and Simon Grace. The boys, their teenage sister Mallory (Sarah Bolger), and mom (Mary-Louise Parker) have moved into the rural mansion that once belonged to the great-uncle Spiderwick. They’ve moved due to the parents’ impending divorce, and Jared, hit especially hard by his father’s departure, acts out against his family when not snooping around the mysterious house. It doesn’t take him long to discover Spiderwick’s attic, stuffed with creepy crawlies and hosting a very large, very mysterious book.

The book, of course, is the titular Spiderwick Chronicles, the first-ever field guide to the magical realm, compiled by Spiderwick before his mysterious disappearance 80 years earlier. Jared ignores a warning on the outside not to open the book, and immediately raises the hackles of the house “brownie” Thimbletack, an elfin little thing voiced by Martin Short. Thimbletack explains that opening the book has reawakened the goblins who live in the forest, and their master Mulgrath will stop at nothing to get his hands on the powerful secrets inside the book.

A circle of protection erected around the house by Spiderwick keeps the family safe inside it, but, when Mulgrath gets his hands on a few key pages of the book, it’s a race against time before the circle is broken and the family must fight for their lives. Jared, Simon, and Mallory go on a hunt for Spiderwick’s daughter, Lucinda (Joan Plowright), who was unfairly locked in a mental institution after her father’s disappearance, and try to find Spiderwick himself in order to discover how to keep the book protected forever.

That’s a hell of a plot description, I know, and The Spiderwick Chronicles definitely wastes no time in moving from revelation to revelation, and adventure to adventure. There’s battling the goblins, riding a griffin, getting swept up by fairies, and then just your average sibling rivalry. Not only is the adventure fast-paced and exciting, but it’s not afraid to be scary. The beginning of the film, when Jared first investigates the house’s mysteries, could come straight out of Poltergeist, and the goblins take an early innocent victim (not human, of course) that proves they mean business. Adventures are only fun when the stakes are high, and while younger children may not be able to deal with the tension and occasional scares, kids who love The Princess Bride and can handle Voldemort will be thrilled to find a movie that doesn’t think they’re wimps.

Highmore’s double casting is kind of unnecessary, and confusing at first, but he proves his talent once again in playing the very different Jared and Simon. The voice talent works nicely as well, particularly Seth Rogen as the mischievous hobgoblin Hogsqueal and Nick Nolte as the vicious Mulgrath. The on-screen actors are game, too, and unexpectedly touching in many moments (Plowright and David Strathairn as Spiderwick are, true to their reputations, great). But mostly it’s the story, ably directed by Mark Waters and adapted by Karey Kirkpatrick and David Berenbaum, that makes the movie as much fun as it is. Even though it takes a little while getting started, and doesn’t quite reach the emotional climax it’s going for, The Spiderwick Chronicles is more-than-worthy entertainment, a classic adventure with its heart and its sense of whimsy in all the right places.

Posted by dschnee at 1:37 PM

Visual Effects Experts on The Spiderwick Chronicles

With so many unusual and complicated non-human characters in "The Spiderwick Chronicles," the film's producers knew the job of creating them might be best split between two visual effects wizards. And what better wizards than Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and Tippett Studio?

"We wanted to engage them both, but we wanted to figure out who was best suited at doing what," explains co-producer Tom Peitzman. Tippett Studio, best known for its work on films such as "Jurassic Park" and "Robocop," handled creation of the army of creepy goblins, led by Redcap, the slovenly hobgoblin Hogsqueal, and the menacing mole troll. ILM produced the characters of Thimbletack (both as a brownie and a boggart), Mulgarath (in his many forms), the sprites and sylphs. Between them, the two studios created some 600 visual effects shots.

Academy Award winner Phil Tippett served as the film's creature supervisor. "My job was to wrangle all of the characters across both facilities, to make sure that all of the characters would maintain some kind of continuity within this world," he explains.
The designs for the characters began with Tony DiTerlizzi's drawings, as featured in his original Field Guide in the Spiderwick Chronicles books. "It was a really nice canvass for (Tippett Studio founder) Phil Tippett, (ILM visual effects supervisor) Pablo Helman and our production designer, Jim Bissell, to start with," notes Peitzman.

You can read the entire production notes here


The team’s main goal was to bring DiTerlizzi’s two-dimensional characters into three-dimensional reality. “It’s a matter of taking the drawings, which are the product of Arthur Spiderwick’s observations in the field, and creating what he actually physically saw, to biologize the sketches and turn them into actual creatures,” says Tippett.

“The intent of the original book was a marriage of nature and art – part plant and part human,” explains Helman, giving the characters, particularly those who disguise themselves in the Unseen World, an organic base from which to come to life. “For others,” says Tippett, “studies of animals, such as rodents and birds, were made, anthropomorphisms of which gave some of the creatures their base” (such as the rodent-like Thimbletack).

Characters were developed in 3D using both traditional clay “maquettes,” small detailed models commonly used in the visual effects industry, and computer programs. ILM employed its Rapid Prototyping system to not only build low resolution computer-generated (CG) models of its characters for study, but to apply some basic movement, sometimes putting a staffer in a “motion capture” suit to begin assigning some early moves. “The director can actually see the character moving and can begin making decisions about physical proportions and movement early on,” explains ILM visual effects supervisor Tim Alexander.

During the actual animation, it was imperative for the animators to make use of reference video shot during the recording sessions by the actors, to try to include as much of their characterizations in the creatures’ personalities as possible. “If you don’t,” says Helman, “something doesn’t quite look right, because the soul of the character is missing.”

“That kind of thing is extremely helpful,” explains Alexander. “We can add in twitches and other body language that we saw when he was making the recording, and we can put all that expression into the character. The Martin Short reference was extremely helpful for Thimbletack's lip sync, for example.”

Seeing Nick Nolte’s performance of Mulgarath was crucial for the animators to be able to inject the “cursed being” facet of his character. “ILM animation supervisor Tim Harrington and I were both at his recording sessions, and what Nick did was just an amazing tour de force,” Tippett recalls. “He was up there for 2 ½ hours doing Mulgarath, and I can tell you he was dripping sweat; he just put everything into it. I would have paid money to have seen this in a theater.”

The voiceless characters of the Unseen World – the sprites and the sylph – had their own challenges to give them their “Fantasia”-like magic. For the beautiful flower sprites, notes Alexander, “we just played straight off their environments. Since they come up out of a flower bed, we just matched the flowers around them, so that they would completely blend in and suddenly appear.” The ethereal flow to their movement was based on that of a jellyfish, he says, even using cloth simulations to create the gentle drift of the petals.

While the millions of dandelion-like sylph required the application of “particle generation” software by ILM (onto which the tiny sylph were applied to each particle), Tippett Studio animation supervisor Todd Labonte and his crew went to great lengths to give each member of the goblin mob a distinct character, whenever possible. “It’s a real trick to get a crowd to feel like a crowd of individuals,” says Tippet. “Todd and his team excelled at making each individual in the crowd a specific entity, but while still maintaining the feeling for a crowd.”
On set during the six month shoot – both at the outdoor location and on the stages of Mel’s Cite du Cinema studio in Montreal – Tippett, Helman and special effects supervisor Michael Lantieri made sure the magic continued in front of the lens, in preparation for the later addition of the computer-generated visual effects. “This is where you really sell visual effects shots to the audience, by providing as much physical interaction as you can on set, to enhance the CG work that comes later,” explains Tom Peitzman.

While actors are quite used to looking each other in the eye while performing scenes, it is a whole other matter to interact with characters that don’t yet exist (and won’t for many months to come). “People do a lot of subtle things with their face as they’re talking to another person,” Tippett explains. “There’s a great deal of searching that’s going on – the person’s eyes will move around the face, they might lean in or pull back as they’re trying to assess the validity of the spirit of the other person.”

To assist the actors, the visual effects crews had a variety of visual aids constructed and placed – and sometimes moved – in the location where, say, Thimbletack or Hogsqueal might be sitting having a discussion with a human character. “We built maquettes, complete with wardrobe, or even just a piece of paper with an ‘X’ on it. It’s what really glues the scene together when you assemble the two shots. If someone’s just staring off at a fixed eyeline, the scenes can go very flat,” says Tippett.

The maquettes are also filmed for reference by the animators. The artists can see how the light on the set interacts with the maquettes, enabling them to recreate the same lighting in the computer of their computer-generated character, allowing them to seamlessly place the character into the shot with the live actors.

Much of the mayhem that befalls the Spiderwick Estate happened under the supervision of special effects supervisor Michael Lantieri. “I did all the mechanical effects on set – which entailed any interaction between the actors and the CGI characters. All of it was driven by the specifics of the characters and their performances, even the digital characters,” Lantieri explains.

That mandated constant communication among Tippett, Helman and himself. “The philosophy was to go as far as we could with live action in a practical way because it ultimately sells the CGI. We figure out the mass, weight and movement of the characters and have anything that results because of it happen in the realm of actual physics.”

Each day, Tippett, Helman and Lantieri would view simplified “previsualization” (or “previz,” at it is known) animation depicting how the day’s scene would unfold, showing where the creatures would be in space and how they would interact and react. “How big would their footsteps be, how deep would they sink in the grass, would they grab with the right hand or the left? For instance, a goblin would never do the same sort of thing as an ogre. Mulgarath is quite large and would interact with things that are much higher and would move much heavier objects. So the trick was to figure out the characters first, then decide what they would come in contact with – in this case, a huge assault on the house. Then we’d figure out how to execute the large scale movement and how that would interact with the character and computer graphics later on,” Lantieri explains.

As much as possible, Lantieri tried to wreak as much of the goblins’ and Mulgarath’s havoc on the house on-camera. “We did as much damage to the house practically as we could - so when a wall explodes, we did that for real and put the characters in later. Everything they touch, push, shove or break was actually done on set.”

Posted by dschnee at 10:15 AM

When Goblins Attack!

This is a scene from The Spiderwick Chronicles. (out February 14th) Mallory Grace fights back! Take the first look at the MySpace Exclusive Clip. This is one of our Goblin + Red Cap sequences we completed! It's very lo-fi crappy myspace video, but still sweet though.

The Spiderwick Chronicles "Run for The Door"

Posted by dschnee at 9:58 AM

January 23, 2008

A Tasty Promotion for Spiderwick

Specially marked boxes of Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Reese's Puffs, Cookie Crisps and Honey Nut Cheerios will include one of three collectible books based on the second title in the Spiderwick series, The Seeing Stone. The three will be evenly distributed among the 10 million boxes, with each store receiving some of each title. The cover is visible through a clear window in each box.

Each book features a third of the original story with a special introduction and conclusion, followed by a brand-new prequel story and illustrations created by Tony DeTerlizzi and Holly Black in conjunction with GM and S&S. The new material, which comprises about 10 to 15 of the 64 pages in each book, is available only through the GM promotion.

Simon and Schuster has partnered with General Mills for a 10 million-box, five-brand cereal promotion tied to the Spiderwick Chronicles. Running from January 1 to March 1, the promotion’s timing is tied to the Spiderwick film being released in February. But its focus is entirely on the books. In fact, when the two companies started talking about the partnership, the film was optioned but didn’t have a green light, so it wasn’t a factor in the deal, according to Laura Ferguson, S&S director of premiums, CDP and corporate sales.

In addition to the wide exposure of 10 million boxes (plus four million more in England and Ireland), the promotion is unusual in that the books themselves are not identified with any General Mills or cereal brand logos. In addition, the premiums involve an large amount of new content for a children’s promotion. “General Mills was looking for a series that was already a success with 8- to 12-year-olds, but also where the authors would add content that would be exclusive to them,” Ferguson explains.

Simon & Schuster is the longtime partner for General Mills’ annual Spoonfuls of Stories promotion. While GM was talking to a number of publishers about this promotional slot, Ferguson believes S&S’s existing relationship with the company may have played into GM’s decision to go with S&S, since the corporation has already approved S&S’s factories and is confident in its ability to meet FDA requirements associated with a food promotion. But the main draw was the content and its appeal to kids. “Spiderwick speaks for itself,” Ferguson says. (publishersweekly.com)

Posted by dschnee at 7:11 AM

January 22, 2008

80th Oscars VFX Down to 3

"The Golden Compass"
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"

Kudos to the GC crew @ Tippett!
This is a cool FYI: "In Mike Fink's video presentation
at the bake-off, he used half of Tippett's shots to highlight the
work in the film. I'd say that's pretty great considering the number
of fx shots in the show he had to pull from." -Matt Jacobs (visual effects supervisor)

Aruna is sitting pretty as he worked on 2 of the 3 vfx noms! Nice one Aruna, congrats!

I still enjoyed Sunshine's VFX the most last year though...

Enchanted has 3 in 1 with the:
"Falling Slowly" from "Once"
"Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted"
"Raise It Up" from "August Rush"
"So Close" from "Enchanted"
"That's How You Know" from "Enchanted"

See Also:
Capturing the allure and excitement of the Oscars, the design was originally conceived by legendary motion picture poster illustrator Drew Struzan and executed by his son, Christian.


Reelz Rating (out of 10):

Award(s) It Was Forgotten For: Best Visual Effects

In a Nutshell: Highlighted by gorgeous visuals, director Danny Boyle offers up a thinking man's sci-fi thriller with equal parts Alien and 2001.

Why It's Award-Worthy: The biggest, best sci-fi movie of 2007 that no one saw. Set in the not-too-distant future where the sun is nearing extinction, Earth is in a constant state of winter weather. The only hope to save mankind? Re-ignite the sun. After the first mission mysteriously vanishes, the crew of the Icarus II is sent on a semi-suicidal mission to look for the missing Icarus I and take their own payload (essentially a massive bomb) straight into the heart of the sun.

Full Sunshine Review

Posted by dschnee at 7:42 AM

Cloverfield: Reinventing the Monster Movie

Tara DiLullo Bennett tracks down Visual Effects Supervisor Kevin Blank and Lead Creature Designer Neville Page to get the scoop on the monster hit, Cloverfield.

From the moment a mysterious little teaser attached to Transformers hit theaters last July, an Internet obsession was born. Name-less and featuring no recognizable stars, the minute-and-a-half tease started out by slowly fleshing out the basic concept of a movie shot hand-held featuring some attractive twenty-somethings throwing a goodbye party for a friend. It was all rather Felicity-like until the tease kicked into overdrive with a Manhattan explosion and the head of the Statue of Liberty rocketing onto the streets of Brooklyn. That money shot alone was powerful enough to send fanboys flocking to the web for answers.

Keep reading for some tid bits about our 'Tippett Studio's' work on this as well...

In the seven months that followed, some mysterious and cryptic websites were found (Slusho.jp and www.tagruato.jp), but nothing more of note was revealed other than the fact that it was produced by J.J. Abrams (Mission: Impossible III) and his creative team at Bad Robot, it was a disaster movie in the style of The Blair Witch Project and its title of Cloverfield. Pretty much aside from the creative names involved, Paramount and team Abrams were maddeningly able to squelch just about every other detail up until release, leaving everyone asking up until opening day (Jan. 18): "Just what is attacking New York City? Is it a monster?!"

Damn right, it's a monster, and, as Abrams has stated in press interviews, Cloverfield finally gives America its very own Godzilla. Freakishly huge, impervious to standard munitions and rather pissed off for some inexplicable reason, this brand-new monster lays one hell of an 85-minute smack down on the Big Apple.

While this sounds like the makings of a summer blockbuster, Cloverfield is not. It's a winter experiment, if you will, with a fraction of the budget of a summer movie, no stars and a visual gimmick that is literally sending some audience members running for their barf bags. Yet it broke records with the biggest box office ever for a January opening (an estimated $46 million for the four-day MLK holiday weekend) and a lot of that has to do with the monster. Created by artist Neville Page and Tippett Studio, Visual Effects Supervisor Kevin Blank had the fun job helping to facilitate the making of a monster, both literally and figuratively.

A long-time member of Abrams' Bad Robot family, Blank was brought in while working on Lost. "Cloverfield was J.J.'s idea and then he hired [Lost scribe] Drew Goddard to write the script... J.J. was doing creature design and sketches four or five months before I was involved...Then they brought in Neville, who was doing design work for Avatar [and later Star Trek]...He knows such a breadth of zoology and every type of creature in existence and bringing together a hybrid of lots of different types of reality-based life. So the process of getting to what the creature [looked like] was very, very developed when I showed up. What transpired after I showed up was more skin coloration and style of eyes. There were a few design details that never really manifested, but I think they will come out in the toy," Blank teases.
Considering the style and budget limitations on the film, Blank says from the beginning the visual effects were always about getting the most bang for the small bucks. "The trick was how do you provide this amazing experience and show enough of a really big event, but then get away from that event and don't hang on that event? There is an ode to Jaws and an ode to Aliens where what you see less of is scarier and that's very, very much played to. Also, a big inspiration piece for this is 9/11. We think of the monster as an event rather than a tangible thing like 9/11, which was this horrific day. When you look at lots of YouTube footage [from 9/11], this is where director Matt Reeves started. He kept saying, 'keep it real, keep it real, keep it real.' When you look at that [9/11] footage, there might be a camera pointed at a building coming down and then the camera hangs there for a second, like the person is in shock, but then they run and get behind a car. Then the camera is looking at a foot or a door jam or maybe underneath a car looking across the street to smoke, but the noise and the description is so compelling and drama driven that it's seeing that piece of drama that really gave the project its soul. The visual effects were just about giving large scale payoffs."

One of the key factors in launching the buzz for Cloverfield came from the teaser trailer that ran in the summer of 2007. The striking shot of the Lady Liberty's head landing, scratched and decapitated on the streets of New York really promised something exciting to come. Blank reveals that trailer was literally the start of shooting for the entire project. "One of the biggest challenges of the whole project is that we started [without a script]. There was an outline so we knew the basic beats, but there was an element of the process of discovering locations and that was what [the scene] had to be because it all happened so quickly. The really stressful part for myself was while the movie was being prepped, and being prepped kind of on the fly because it's hard to prep without a formal script, was to do this trailer. We basically had about two-and-a-half weeks to do it from the moment we filmed it to the moment it had to be attached to Transformers.

"In terms of sheer momentum it created, that was amazing. But it's one thing to be prepping a movie that quickly and it's another thing to be prepping a movie and delivering something as high scale as that trailer... Taking things from previs to shot execution and development of the model was really fast and a tough juggling act. It came out great and created a lot of buzz. We went back and tweaked the shots after, so the shots in the movie have evolved from what was seen in the trailer. Mostly, there is a better model of the Statue of Liberty head. The full trailer actually shows the new Liberty head to compare."
While the gimmick of a first person POV witnessing a monster attack is compelling, Cloverfield's success lies in the execution and visuals of the monster. Blank says they were gratefully given enough money to get the right vendors to do the job. "Even though the movie was low budget, the visual effects budget we had was a good size. We were dealing with big movie vendors and we hired Double Negative in London [under the supervision of Mike Ellis] and Tippett Studio [under the supervision of Eric Leven]. Tippett has a terrific reputation as a creature house and they made the monster. They brought it to life. But the thing I was trying to do, though, is that I've always had a philosophy of matching the talent with the task. Tippett is a full-service visual effects company capable of doing lots of things and, obviously, we went to them for their creature work but they ended up doing a lot more. With Double Negative, I was really impressed with their work on Batman Begins and Children of Men."

But the tight budget also meant that more vfx had to be utilized to fill the production gaps. "We were trying to shoot on a small set with a bunch of greenscreen and make everyone believe it," Blank continues. "I give a lot of credit to Production Designer Martin Whist because he had the least amount of resources to produce something believable. We kept saying to him, give us the front 10 or 20% in front of camera for real and we'll do the rest. A lot times you would expect on a movie like this for the set to comprise 50 to 60% of what is going on and visual effects is completing the lower half. But visual effects were doing a lot more than that. For example, we had a very large sequence on the Brooklyn Bridge. What was created was basically a 150-foot stretch for the board planks, a few benches and then lighting fixtures were in place where they would be on the bridge, but the railing, the lamps and everything is CG. In New York, we shot helicopter plates on the side of the Brooklyn Bridge to make the environment, but the actual structure of the bridge was 99% visual effects. The only thing that was not was the ground these people were walking on."

It was so much work that Blank confirms it's not really even quantifiable. "The one thing about this movie is that it's basically a big monster movie done in The Blair Witch style, so there is no traditional camera coverage. You can have shots that go on and on for a minute and within one shot you can have three-dozen visual effects going on. Roughly there were 150 plates in play, but in terms of actual quantifying how many effects, I'm the wrong person to ask," he chuckles, and then pleads that it's the breadth that really counts here.
Blank adds that, unlike traditionally filmed movies, Cloverfield found the bulk of its vfx work in adding elements rather than subtracting them. "We had about 32 days of shooting and a few days of additional shooting and about 10 of those were on a greenscreen stage. What Martin Whist created was very minimal, it was great, but visual effects were adding a crazy amount of additional stuff. Everything we saw looked great, but it was not as much as you would expect to see. So the amount of resources that was given to production was spent really wisely."

Of course the piece de resistance of the film is the actual monster itself and Blank says he is thrilled with the end results and the process of getting him there. "I am really proud of the creature from a design perspective, so a lot of props to Neville Page and for Tippett Studio for realizing something really amazing looking. But the other big thing was there was some shared material between Double Negative and Tippett because they are houses that use similar pipelines -- as they basically use Maya and Shake for everything. That was factored into the decision [to hire them] because it happened so quickly, so sometimes you couldn't think, 'Well, I'll give this here and that there.' I knew there was going to be some shifting. It created a situation where the people were all using the same [systems], so it might be a case of Tippett generating a little piece of a creature but then giving it to Double Negative to put into a broader-based environment piece. Tippett did all the creature work [overseen by Animation Supervisor Tom Gibbons], but they did some environment work too. Double Negative did more shots on the show than Tippett, and I know [it will all be about] 'the monster, the monster, the monster,' but a lot of people will be unaware of the extent of the environment creations going on in the film. Big credit goes to both houses."

With all the hype said and done, Blanks says he knows the movie delivers. "I think everyone will have a wild ride...[and] rather than the monster having a personality [like Godzilla or King Kong], it's more of an entity or an event. This movie is more like a fantastical 9/11 re-imagining. It is a monster movie but an experiential one. I think it is going to be viewed in a unique way and in some ways it may be difficult to compare. Ultimately, there are 60 some creature shots and that's not a ridiculous, crazy amount and many of them are cheating. But trust me: you'll get a good look at him," he laughs.
And after you do, you'll certainly be able to appreciate Page's invaluable contributions, as well as Tippett's. Funny enough, Page says that Abrams initially approached him anonymously by e-mail while he was working on Avatar, mentioning how he adored his Gnomon Workshop training DVDs. Page assumed he was a young student. "Felt a touch clueless, to say the least. I blame J.J., however, for the misinterpretation. His e-mail was so personable and matter of fact that it did not feel like a major director wanting to collaborate on a movie. The moral to this story is pretty obvious."

And naturally what was initially pitched to Page by the filmmakers was short on creature details. "They wanted it big. They wanted it to be something 'new.' It had to adhere to some story points, but it was wide open. I listened; I took notes. I couldn't pass this up. I accepted."

But coming up with something new, especially on the heels of The Host, was an extra challenge. "Whenever I'm asked to design something that is 'completely new,' 'fresh' and 'that has never been seen before,' I get nervous. I have a long philosophy on this, but I will say that 'new' things need to be familiar as well. If not, then they are maybe too difficult to understand and comprehend. The hardest thing, in a way, was to not repeat any of the stuff that I did on previous films. The good news was that Cloverfield's parameters lent itself to developing something 'new'. In other words, the original creators (J.J., producer Bryan Burk and screenwriter Drew Goddard) set the tone and we all developed it together. Furthermore, I was afforded the opportunity to hire a great talent, Tully Summers, to help me out. He is such a treat to work with. And he was an invaluable resource of ideas and execution on both the Big Guy and his parasitic friends. I had heard about The Host during the development of Clover, but did not see anything until I was done with the design. I dug The Host. I thought that it was such a success in so many ways. Some people are drawing conclusions that Clover and The Host are similar in design. They are in that they ravage and seem to originate from the water, but the end results are quite different. However, when I finally saw some of the concept art, there were some very obvious similarities. But then again, I think that we were both channeling similar biological possibilities."

Page suggests that understanding the monster's motivations is key and to do that requires researching as many aspects of the life you are creating. And he starts the design process more as an actor than as a visual artist.
"My preference for doing most design is to start with pencil and paper. Rough sketches. Again, none of us really knew what it was going to be, so I went for the shotgun approach. Generate as many design variations as possible and see which ones get closest to the target. I did floating gasbag tentacular things, sea serpenty things, arthropods, whatever. But, what guided us were the narrative needs. Which is great, because nothing was to be superfluous. I prefer when things are purposeful. Utilitarian, if you will. As for how many sketches it took to get to the center of this tootsie pop? Never enough. I love the process, the drawing, the sculpting, but I had so little time to do 'cool' art. So, I really had to be very efficient with time and process: Maybe 80 sketches to establish a direction, six clay sculptures to assist and then many, many hours of digital sculpting to finalize the design. In terms of efficiency, I try to make every moment count in my days, especially when on multiple projects. The sketchbook is always with me."

Page's design process begins with slowing down and trying to think clearly. But no drawing until the mental images start to flow. "Sometimes I start with big gestural silhouettes, other times with loose, gestural lines. Either way, I am looking for interesting forms. While in this mode, I am tapping into all of the research I have done and keeping in mind all of the pertinent story points and, of course, all of the clients desires and comments. I may do some of these drawing digitally using Photoshop on either a Wacom tablet or a Cintiq. Sometimes I will bust out a lump of clay and explore some ideas there and, other times, I may sculpt digitally using ZBrush. In the end, ZBrush was used for all final development and the final sculptures for use by Tippet Studio."

Not surprisingly, Page insists that he did everything to avoid comparisons to Godzilla: no dragons or lizards in this creature's DNA. "Granted, it is huge, comes out of the water, has a tail and ravages Manhattan, so there were some major elements that kinda screamed Godzilla. But the design and biology and history are very different. For me, one of the most key moments in our collective brainstorming was the choice to make the creature be something that we would empathize with. It is not out there, just killing. It is confused, lost, scared. It's a newborn. Having this be a story point (one that the audience does not know), it allowed for some purposeful choices about its anatomy, movement and, yes, motivations. The hardest thing to accept, in terms of making a truly plausible creature like this, is its scale. Nothing would look like this at that scale [the size of a skyscraper], and that is to assume that anything could ever really be that scale as a living organism on land. Other movies that had gigantic monsters have helped pave the way to the 'suspension of disbelief.'"

Tara DiLullo Bennett is an East coast-based writer whose articles have appeared in publications such as SCI FI Magazine, SFX and Lost Magazine. She is the author of the books 300: The Art of the Film and 24: The Official Companion Guide: Seasons 1-6.

Posted by dschnee at 2:22 AM

January 21, 2008

Your Pal Randy on Cloverfield

Dudes, there are spoilers.

I don't know a lot. I've never been good at math, and to tell you the truth, I can't spell to save my life. But I do know one thing. If one of those parasites falls off the back of a huge thing that is fucking up a city, and it bites you. You are going to pop like a fucking tick.

There are many reasons why Cloverfield fucking rules. And I know that during the film you might have wanted to yell," hold the camera still for three seconds please", I know me too, but then, the city started to land all over you and you started to run down the street screaming.

Ok, here goes.

Why did the Monster go to New York City? Where did It come from? Was it a scientific experiment?

who the fuck cares?

Nobody, when you are running down the street about to get fucked up.

I loved Jurassic Park, but that DNA shit, got everyone and their mothers trying to come up with some stupid logical reasons why their monster was there. It got to the point where you would have some stupid blonde at a computer terminal spitting out lines that sounded like she was reading a Star Trek script.

Here's the deal kids. Run. That is all you need to know. And by the way, we don’t care if you hide under a bridge and love your girlfriend.

When it comes to creature effects, Tippett Studio is like one of those Frazetta paintings of Conan. The ones where there is a pile of people in pain looking up at the sky saying 'Oh Shit!" And Conan is flying over everybody about to deliver the goods.

That shit in the subway, out standing.

You people at Tippett, if you read this, go get yourself a drink at lunch, and make it a double. Because that shit was great!

And I hope all of the fat dudes with ponytails who left the theaters saying stuff like " well they didn’t explain why… beep borp dorp!" get hit by a bus

your pal Randy

Posted by dschnee at 10:44 AM

Cloverfield Roeper & Phillips' Review

2 Thumbs Up! - Not that this is saying much coming from these two, but still. Watch Roeper & Phillips' Review Cloverfield Here

Posted by dschnee at 7:50 AM

January 20, 2008

Early Cloverfield Estimates #1 with $41 million

"Cloverfield" Stumbles, Stomps, Crushes, Crashes, and Eats the Box Office

$16,900,000 (estimate)
3,411 (screens) / $4,955 (per screen)

$13,750,000 (estimate)
-18.6% / -
3,411 (screens) / $4,031 (per screen)
$30,650,000 / 2days

Sunday: (It's only 12pm Noon PST)
$10,350,000 (estimate)
-24.7% / -
3,411 (screens) / $3,034 (per screen)
$41,000,000 / 3days

Former Top January Opening Weekend Flicks:
2 Star Wars (Special Edition) Fox $35,906,661 on 1/31/97
3 Black Hawk Down SonR $28,611,736 on 1/18/02
4 Big Momma's House 2 Fox $27,736,056 on 1/27/06

-Cloverfield on boxofficemojo.com

Posted by dschnee at 11:48 AM

January 19, 2008

An Open Letter to JJ Abrams, Cloverfield

This is a pretty cool letter/response to JJ Abrams and Cloverfield...(from chud.com) I pretty much agree.

Hey JJ,

You probably know me as the guy who saw the Cloverfield trailer early and who leaked the final name of the movie. You may also know me as a guy who has been highly skeptical of that same movie, especially of the viral marketing, which I found annoying, stupid and overbaked*. I write this letter for two reasons: to eat some crow and offer my apologies for my skepticism and to ask you to pledge to not make a sequel to Cloverfield.

Cloverfield is a good movie, JJ. Drew Goddard and Matt Reeves did strong work here. I have my problems with the film, and when the embargo on reviews is lifted on Friday I'll detail some of them, but over all you guys made a good movie. It's going to be huge, by the way; I know your tracking is telling you that but I wonder if it's going to be bigger than the tracking indicates. This movie is going to set opening weekend in January records that will remain untouched for a long, long time. And while I didn't have a geekgasm like Harry Knowles did, I think this is a movie that deserves to do well. You guys pulled it off, and as someone who had no faith in the project at all, I'm impressed. I may start approaching Star Trek with a more open mind after this one.

Now on to the second part of this letter: you must promise to never make a sequel to this movie.

This next part may be a spoiler, so people who are peering in on our correspondence should be aware that I will be giving away one minor aspect of the movie, which I do not think will affect their enjoyment of it at all.

One of the things that you guys did most right in Cloverfield is that you never explained where the monster came from. You have the character of Hud give a range of theories, but you never give any answers, and you never give enough context to even let us make an informed guess. I love that. I love that the monster's origins, abilities, name, weaknesses, and favorite color are never divulged. It's part of what makes this movie a little bit special, and more than a little bit different. But in a sequel you will have no option but to explore the monster's origins. Unless you make the exact same movie again, but with different characters, there is almost no way to avoid delving a little deeper into the monster and what makes it tick.

Of course this movie will always stand on its own; technically you could make six more Cloverfields and have the last one be from the POV of the monster as it gets jilted at the prom, leading to the big attack, and this first movie would still exist without a frame being changed. But you understand how what comes later does change what came before. In popular entertainment there's a reverse causality effect, and something that was good can be turned into something that is bad by improper handling of sequels and spin-offs. It's too easy to cheapen things, and the aspects of Cloverfield that make it one of the coolest movies I've seen in some time would be drastically cheapened by a sequel that sheds even the teeniest ray of light on the monster. Leave it as it is.

Again, I'll be reviewing the film in full on Friday, and I hope you come by to read what I have to say. I do understand if you don't - all of that money you're making from this film will not be spending itself, after all - but take my plea to heart, and listen to the inherent wisdom. Shock the world on Monday, JJ. Even after Cloverfield opens to numbers unimagined for a January release, announce to Variety that this is all there is, that there won't be a trilogy or a TV show or a MMORPG or a series of tie-in books. Leave it be. You guys got it right the first time.

Your word eating pal


*The quality of the film in no way invalidates my opinion on the marketing, by the way. This is the kind of movie that would be amazing to discover, and the core audience never had that chance.


Posted by dschnee at 8:20 AM

January 18, 2008

Cloverfield is Released!

in the USA 18 January 2008

visit Cloverfield @ imdb.com

Box Office Results January 18-21, 2008

Number: 1
Weekend Gross: $46,037,000
Theatres: 3,411
Theatre Average: $11,737
Weeks in Release: 1
Total Gross: $50,425,568
Budget: $25 million
Running Time: 1 hrs. 24 min.
Distributor: Paramount
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Domestic Total as of Feb. 12, 2008: $76,404,411
Domestic: $76,404,411 57.3%
+ Foreign: $56,855,049 42.7%
= Worldwide: $133,259,460

BoxOfficeMojo.com's "Cloverfield" Statistics

Posted by dschnee at 8:34 AM

January 17, 2008

Tippett's Cloverfield Screening!

OK, so now I DID see Cloverfield tonight!?! Then again so did thousands of others catching the many sold out Midnight screenings... ours was at 7:30pm.

It was interesting though, Paramount security was in effect with night-vision goggles on searching through the crowd for any cameras, cell phones, any sort of device that could be snapping off photos or capturing the event. (did you know on iPhones you can snap off a photo and have it uploaded to your flickr site instantly? so cool.)

What can I say... This monster flick is actually awesome, I'm really excited for it! Look, I knew all of the parts with the monster in it, we worked on em' all, I knew when they were coming... but shit, it was very intense! After the killer sound mix and darker DI treatments, the sequences played out frighteningly well.

It was short and sweet, and one hell of a fun ride. Not sweet like 'whip cream with a cherry on top', but sweet like 'I just saw the coolest low budget monster movie tearing a new one in Manhattan!?!'

And the credits? The credits had the most epic score in movie history! I think I'm gonna buy the soundtrack just for the score to the ending credits... So cool.

Posted by dschnee at 11:00 PM

I got to see Cloverfield last night...


OK, I didn't, but a good friend at ILM did. MC is also a Compositor who worked on Cloverfield at Tippett, but is now at ILM. Remember Cloverfield got to Screen for ILM before Tippett Studio, and this was his response watching it with the ILM crew...

"I got to see Cloverfield last night here at ILM and I have to say how amazing you guys are! The shots looked so great.
I'm so grateful to have been a part of it.
People in the theater were gasping and saying things like " daaaammmnnnn" after a big sequence of monster shots.
It was fun to see with an audience that didn't know what the monster looked like and didn't know what was coming." -MC aka 'The Clemmy'

Our screening is tonight, so I should have something up about it late tonight... I can't wait. This is going to be the best night ever!

Posted by dschnee at 3:33 PM

January 16, 2008

The Spiderwick Chronicles [Soundtrack]

Composer: James Horner
Released on: 05/Feb/2008
Label: Lakeshore Records

1. Writing The Chronicles
2. So Many New Worlds Revealed
3. Thimbletack And The Goblins
4. Hogsqueal's Warning Of A Bargain With Mulgarath
5. Discovering Spiderwick's Secret Workshop
6. Dark Armies From The Forest Attack
7. Burning The Book
8. A Desperate Run Through The Tunnels
9. Lucinda's Story
10. The Flight Of The Griffin
11. Escape From The Glade
12. The Protective Circle Is Broken .... !
13. Jared And Mulgarath Fight For The Chronicles
14. Coming Home
15. Closing Credits

Posted by dschnee at 11:06 PM

Cloverfield Reviews

So far, pretty good. A few folks have soured it up as rotten, but all and all...


"Quite frankly, "Cloverfield" is a triumph for fans of the monster genre. The filmmakers create a claustrophobic sense of entrapment that turns the sprawling cityscape of Manhattan into a deadly maze where there is literally no escape. It isn't just a popcorn flick, it's a comprehensive mind-blowing experience.
And for people worried about the film not living up to the hype generated by viral marketing and clever ad campaigns, think again. You will not be disappointed. "Cloverfield" delivers." (moviehole.net)

"Cloverfield is a fun and at the same time Frightening monster movie that goes beyond a simple monster movie. It's exciting in parts, scary in others and does a wonderful job immersing you into the reality of the story in a way that actually makes you believe these horrible events are actually happening. A few cheesy scenes and elements take a little of the glitter off this film, but not a lot. In general, a really good solid movie. Over all I give Cloverfield an 8/10" (themovieblog.com)

"At a breezy 84 minutes long (with credits), the film delivers the roller coaster thrill ride it promises - not the genre-changing action masterpiece that many seem to already be demanding of it. Director Matt Reeves and especially producer J.J. Abrams have a genuine understanding of how to properly pace and convey tension with this kind of material and so keep the action frequent enough to maintain your excitement, but know when to stop and take a breath for some quieter character moments. Ultimately though the secret of "Cloverfield" is that it is simply a clever twist on a very predictable genre, and as such its easy to indulge in the action." (darkhorizons.com)

"Part of my skepticism coming into this film was that it was going to be one of those movies about the people, not the catastrophic action surrounding them. That's not a bad concept but it's been done a lot lately. Luckily, the film succeeds in both arenas and adds up to a monster of a ride (pun alert). Go see it now! In a theater with good sound!" (bloody-disgusting.com)

"Cloverfield is a fun movie. Plain and simple. It's sit back, relax and go. It's a roller coaster ride. JJ Abrams wanted to make an American monster movie, and he has done just that. Cloverfield is not a Godzilla rip-off, it's the reinvention of the monster film. This is the story about characters trapped in a monster film. They aren't the characters that would be in the big Hollywood blockbuster version, or even an D-level take by The Asylum or Troma. These characters are the people running away from Godzilla. They have no urge to defeat the monster, they just want to get away and reconnect with their loved ones. This is a human story which just happens to take place during this gigantic moment of fear. 8/10" (/slashfilm.com)

"But my take on "Cloverfield" is that it basically boils down to a good old fashioned "Disaster Flick", which is well made - and well-acted as well, but ultimately is really as exciting or innovative to me as it was seeing "Independence Day" for the first time - an exciting, ultimately enjoyable picture that I'll grab on DVD for sure, but not that re-defining genre pick that you may have been expecting to see. 4/5 stars" (moviehole.net)

"Putting it simply, "Cloverfield" is a monstrously entertaining motion picture. If you're in need of a thrill ride but can't get to Anaheim or Orlando anytime soon, this is the film that you need to seek out the MLK weekend." (jimhillmedia.com)

"If I'm geeking out too much I'm sorry, I'm not saying it's the best movie EVER, its not. But it is a lot of fun and a hell of a ride. The main thing I'm trying to convey is considering the amount of movies I see in a given year that when something new and interesting like this comes around its like falling in love with the process all over again. Its not meant to be a masterpiece, its not meant to sell toys at McDonalds, its simply meant to give us 90 minutes of escapism and capture our imagination. 5/5 stars" (filmgeekz)

"J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves have created a classic that I guarantee years from now will be remembered as the quintessential monster movie from this decade. The style is such a brave new step into a realm that no one has really touched upon or succeeded in (George Romero's Diary of the Dead was utter crap compared to Cloverfield), that this is a defining moment in both monster movie history and Hollywood history. Once you finally experience, not watch, Cloverfield, you'll understand how incredible it truly is and you'll never forget finally seeing this soon-to-be classic. 9/10" (firstshowing.net)

"When the film ends, you feel like you've seen a movie that is worth forking over your hard earned cash for - and that is what has been lacking at the cinema for some time. It is a genuine action adventure; more heart-thumping than 'King Kong', more intense than 'The Day After Tomorrow', and simply more realistic than other disaster movies that have used New York as its stamping ground in the past." (thecelebritytruth.com)

"In fact, I'm going to say it one more time. Cloverfield is a great ride. It's exciting. It's enjoyable. It's got a great chase vibe to it. I really had a blast watching it. Check it out. Grade A" (filmschoolrejects.com)

"'Cloverfield' a thrill - and you must see it as large and loud as possible. Minor aftershocks can't crumble this mammoth, rock-'em-sock-'em movie, though. It's unapologetically B, what with its magnificent monster, melodramatic smooches, overly scripted comic relief and unsympathetic pecking order. Yet it also is a thrilling, exhausting tale of an incomprehensibly horrible beast lovingly crafted in H.P. Lovecraft's remorseless style. 3 1/2 stars" (galesburg.com)

"Well, the giant lizard genre has been stripped down and brought into the new millennium courtesy of idea man J.J. Abrams, screenwriter Drew Goddard and director Matt Reeves in the form of "Cloverfield" -- think "Godzilla Unplugged" -- with chillingly effective results." (hollywoodreporter.com)

"But even though "Cloverfield" isn't the Godzilla-for-the-YouTube-generation picture that everyone may have been hoping for, it's still a terrific movie, filled with spectacle and a surprising amount of humor, which makes up for its lack of terror or emotional impact." (sfgate.com)

"Do see Cloverfield; it's an outstanding take on the monster movie genre, kicking the shit out of the last Godzilla flick while also offering a poignant commentary on our modern, media obsessed, terrorist-phobic world. And the odd explosion and fighter jet attack don't hurt none, either." (atomicmpc.com)

Posted by dschnee at 7:27 AM

January 15, 2008

Early Reactions: 'Cloverfield'

"It's wonderful, it's frightening and it's truly a breath of fresh air. Serious props go out to director Matt Reeves and producer J.J. Abrams. Cloverfield ... you have finally won me over. Stay tuned to Cinematical for our official review later this week." -Erik Davis (cinematical.com)


For more early reactions, keep watching:


I'm still trying to comprehend the film I just watched. It really is like no other monster movie you've ever seen. You know those warnings they give people before going on a rollercoaster (might not be safe for pregnant women, people who have motion sickness, etc ...) -- well, they should give the same warning before watching Cloverfield. It's not a film; it's sort of like an experience. And being able to watch this movie with a New York City crowd was pretty special. There was no random fanboy cheering at any point; frankly, I don't think people had time to cheer because once the film goes ... it goes ... and it goes ... and it will freak you the hell out.

My wife even liked this film, and she hates all things science fiction. She's more of a hardcore drama gal; people killing themselves, killing each other -- that sort of thing. So her liking this movie is huge. I won't go on much longer because I refuse to spoil it for you, but trust me when I say Cloverfield is worth the hype. You'll need to adjust to the shaky cam (won't take longer than 15 minutes, at least for us it didn't), it's a tad melodramatic (but it works because you care about the characters more), New Yorkers will have to suck it up a bit (Spring to 59th in heels?) and you'll need to realize that you won't be spoon-fed the usual Hollywood bullsh*t along the way. Picture you and your friends hanging out one night. Someone has a movie camera. Something attacks the city ... and you're off. That's it. That's the setup. Now strap yourself in, hold on tight and enjoy the ride.

P.S. Weinberg here! As the biggest horror geek on the Cinematical crew, I would like to (enthusiastically) agree with the comments and opinions of Mr. Davis and his lovely wife. This is one of the coolest monster movies I've ever seen. And I freaking LOVE monster movies.

Posted by dschnee at 9:19 PM

Cloverfield to Screen for ILM before Tippett Studio

George and Steven
So wait, why the hell is ILM getting a screening of Cloverfield tonight?

FACT: ILM did NOT work on Cloverfield.
TRUE: In fact, ILM did NOT have anything to do with Cloverfield.
FACT: Tippett Studio DID work on Cloverfield.
TRUE: In fact, Tippett Studio delivered the gosh dang MONSTER everyone has been trying to figure out!
TRUE: ILM is going to see Cloverfield before Tippett Studio.
FACT: This makes me sad.

OK, so I was just informed... (thank you Nathan)
UPDATED FACT: Skywalker Sound mixed the sound for Cloverfield.
So one could say that technically Lucas in fact, DID have something to do with Cloverfield.

But still, WTF?

I heard that Steven Spielberg had seen Cloverfield right... there after he called his friend George Lucas up on the telephone... and after 'raving' about it(ok not sure on the raving part but he liked it), Steven asked if George had seen it yet? George replies no!?! We have to get a screening of Cloverfield over here at ILM then! A phone call later, wam, bam, shizzam... the Paramount Pictures genie grants ILM with a screening tonight!

FACT: Tippett Studio will be having our Cloverfield Screening tomorrow (Thursday 01.17.08) night, one day after ILM who did NOT work on, nor having anything to do with the highly anticipated JJ Abrams viral marketed and produced U.S. monster flick "Cloverfield", yet one day earlier then the general public.
TRUE: I'm NOT upset by this, OK, I admit I'm a tiny bit jealous, but the fantastic part of all of this... is that Steven Spielberg thought enough of Cloverfield to tell George Lucas about it, and this in turn got George Lucas excited enough to want a Cloverfield screening of his own... sweet as.

Posted by dschnee at 8:28 AM

January 14, 2008

Cloverfield Headless Lady Liberty w/ Bits & News

Check out the headless Statue of Liberty replica currently erected on the Paramount Pictures Lot! - This along with a gang of the latest bits and news that is Cloverfield...


:// When monsters attack! Best cinema beasts

:// The Mysterious Origins of Cloverfields Name

:// The rise of low-budget: Paramount spends $25m on 2008 tentpole

:// Cloverfield Predicted to be the Most Profitable Movie of 2008?!

:// On Set Interviews and Behind the Scenes Footage from CLOVERFIELD! Plus TV Spots!

:// Bringing Cloverfield to Life

:// Cloverfield Monster Revealed in Fan Art

:// Cloverfield: Monster update, first review, and NPR report

:// J.J's Viral 'Cloverfield' Diary

:// The Medium Is the Market (review)

:// JJ Abrams Cloverfield Interview

:// Matt Reeves Cloverfield Interview

:// CLOVERFIELD - The Beginning

:// The Accidental Title

Posted by dschnee at 8:05 AM

January 13, 2008

Spiderwick TV Spots!

care of TrailerAddict.com

Posted by dschnee at 7:54 AM

January 11, 2008

Spiderwick's New Release Date

is Valentine's Day! How so very romantic... 02/14/08

"Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies announced today that the release of the vfx-driven family fantasy flick The Spiderwick Chronicles has moved up a day to Thursday, February 14, 2008. Originally scheduled to debut on a Friday, the movie will instead take a Thursday bow in order to get a jump on 20th Century Fox's Jumper, a sci-fi thriller, about a time-traveling teenager." (awn.com)

Posted by dschnee at 7:43 AM

January 10, 2008

Cloverfield will take your breath away...

'Breathe' TV SPOT that features a Tippett Studio VFX Shot with, YES the Monster in it!?! Schilling that's Stellar right there bro.

See Also:
Harry knows what CLOVERFIELD is!!!

Utterly Brilliant.


For the past year or so, that's been the question that everyone has been asking. Well… they also wanted to know: What was that trailer? What's the name of this movie? Who are those actors? What is a SLUSHO? What does any of this mean?

Having seen the film, I can tell you – I have completely forgotten the marketing. I no longer care why the film is titled CLOVERFIELD, I don't think it has a secret meaning – other than the fact that the movie that the marketing would lead you to, if it will… will knock your cinema-going mind into the floor of the theater.

CLOVERFIELD is a bold genre-reinvention unlike anything we've ever seen before.

The basic premise that we know is there. The film is found footage, not an assembled film. The footage is recovered in Central Park. From trailers and ads you know that it probably starts at a party, something happens, and we think there is a giant monster. You're pretty sure there's a giant monster attacking New York City… specifically Manhattan.

Well, I've just come home from watching CLOVERFIELD. The security on me and my wife for seeing this movie was un-frickin-believable. I suppose some would have the temptation to snap a pic of the monster and send it out online to end, forever, the "mystery" – but folks… there's no mystery.

The movie is fucking brilliant. It's what we were told it was going to be. An intimate perspective on an impossibly grand scale human disaster beyond most human levels of comprehension.

What is the monster? How do you describe something that doesn't look like anything you've ever seen before? It's not a fucking upright walking whale. It doesn't look like any iteration of GODZILLA that we've ever seen. It is enormous. And even though I've seen it… I am hard-pressed to come up with a comparative creation. You know that big fucking thing in THE MIST? It isn't that. Is the creature a biped? I'm not sure, I think it might've been a four-legged beastie… it has a tail, it has teeth and freaky eyes like that horse that died in ANIMAL HOUSE. It's kinda of a grayish-yellowish-off-white looking thing. But more important than the creature is what this fucker does. He basically goes bug-nuts.

The creature isn't the groundbreaking thing about the film. It is, but it isn't.

You see, what has me so excited about this film is that this is the giant monster movie that isn't at all like any giant monster movie we've seen before… but is exactly that movie.

I guarantee you that as this movie takes place… all the shit that you've seen in Giant monster movies is happening. Somewhere a general is screaming about nuking New York…. Somewhere is a politician screaming that you can't nuke New York. Another General wants to know why our weapons are not affecting this thing. A PRESIDENT wants to know where it came from – and several thousand journalist are trying to figure all that out too.

But this film isn't about the scientist, the generals, the Presidents, the mayors or any of the big people. This time, the film is from the perspective of those people that live in those buildings that the monster is breaking through. This is about the people running in the street that scream, "GODZILLA!!!" and run. This is about trying to survive that insanity. Not just that, but to try and save one life.

Like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, but instead of Nazis it's a giant monster.

This is a handheld camera movie – knowing this and knowing not to sit too close is probably a good thing… but having said that… you can't sit far enough from the screen to feel safe. As many of you people know, I am in a wheelchair – and while watching movies, I have my brakes on. There was one moment, so unexpected and so intense that I went 3 ft back.

What about the characters?

You learn everything you need about them in the first 20 minutes. Rob is going to Japan to a new job. He has a brother Jason and a best friend Hud who gets strapped with filming testimonials at his surprise party – but Hud has the hots for Marlena and got talked into it by Jason – who was told to do it by Lily, who loves him. Oh – and they're taping over a tape that Rob shot of the morning after he and Beth finally did it – after being friends forever. But now he has to go to Japan for his career and Beth shows up with some dick at his party because he didn't know how to talk with her after they had sex.

It's a fairly real situation that could happen to anyone. These are just regular good people in the rat race – and trying to have a good time. When the shit goes down.

I wasn't expecting to like any of the characters. That changes… a lot.

My favorite character? Probably Hud… our cameraman. He's not a professional photographer, though this "tape" tells an incredibly focused and direct story of epic sweep and filled with intimate reveals. But HUD is "the best friend". But if I could compare him to any character actor, I'd say he's like a reigned in Bill Paxton. He's not going around screaming obscenities… but the shit that comes out of his mouth cracks me up.

The story of this film is actually beautiful though. When the world goes to fuck, you instantly think about the person you love that you don't know is OK or not. That's this story. Beth left Rob's party before the shit went down. They had a fight. When it all goes to hell – Rob and his friends are just trying to get off the island, when a call comes… Beth is somewhere… she can't move, she's bleeding and she needs help. And oddly… 911 is busy.

This group of friends sets off through the biggest sort of hell you can imagine to save Beth. Characters die. Shit goes horribly horribly wrong – and it rules!

There's no score, there's no rules, there feels like there's no script and no movie. It feels found, but it is so huge that you can't ever really believe that… but handheld film just has never had a story of something this fantastical or huge happen. The movie is a landmark genre film. A true milestone in film.

It is all at once art, commercial and grotesquely gleefully gargantuan.

This frankly launches two giant film careers at once. As of this second, I will see and eagerly anticipate every film that J.J. Abrams produces. This sort of stepping back from a genre convention and reinvention is EXACTLY what needs to be done. It isn't simply going, "Oh, I can make a better Godzilla movie," but the audacity of saying I'm going to tell that story from one of the most loathed film approaches – the found footage – and simply make the most fucking amazing found tape ever. It won't just be what it is, but the characters and the story and the emotion and the scope and the journey that the tape takes us on. I can't wait to see what's next.

Then there's Matt Reeves, I don't know this guy. But I'll tell you what. You're gonna mark his name after this. He just came out with a film about as SUNDANCE as you could imagine. This is like an INDIE film – that you'd dream Spielberg would make. Remember the beard's WAR OF THE WORLDS? Now just imagine that, but with the disarming nature of handheld photography. Where if the camera got dropped and suddenly you're looking the other way… you don't see the seams. There's no backlot, this isn't two blocks at a time… it's fucking Manhattan being torn to fuck and they're just smack dab in midtown and midtown has giant lice monsters and some monstrously huge creature… and then there's the fucking military… and they are on target, and buildings get hit, shit is going everywhere – and the man directing this apocalypse is Matt Reeves and the planning to just deliver what this spectacle is – is daunting. But sir, BRAVO!

Folks – CLOVERFIELD is worth the obsession, worth the months I've had to put up with fans wondering what the hell it was – worth having to deal with reporters asking me what it was – and I didn't know either. This is a towering movie. A complete reinvention of the disaster movie, the giant monster movie and even the love story. I absolutely love this film and the only thought I had when it was over was how I wanted to watch it 5 more times today.

I want to see the details, I want to watch this film once I'm so familiar with it that I can appreciate the complexity of the frames and the shots. To try to pull the film apart – but I don't think you'll be able to. It is just that fucking good! And the flaming hobos... holy fuck man... flaming hobos, but not with shotguns!

Good Bad Robot, Good Bad Robot!!!

-Harry @ aintitcoolnews.com

Posted by dschnee at 11:15 PM

January 8, 2008

Exclusive: 30 Second Cloverfield TV Spot

This new TV Spot teases viewers with a glimpse into the dark subway sequence, the shots with the rats running the other way... yeah, some freaky shit goes down in the subway! I worked on some shots down there, trust me.

A friend at work was in New York over the holidays, and he said there is a ton of Cloverfield stuph up everywhere! billboards, buses, on the streets, subways, even in the bathrooms over the urinals, another cloverfield Ad! Maybe all this Marketing is the real Monster...

If anyone wants to share some pictures of Cloverfield marketing that they see around your area, streets, town, city, toliet, etc. Send them to me here and I'll post em up on the blog!

Posted by dschnee at 10:20 PM

Cover Story: 'The Spiderwick Chronicles'

Iain Blair (postmagazine)
SAN FRANCISCO - Based on the best-selling series of books, the fantasy adventure The Spiderwick Chronicles tells the story of the three Grace children — twins Jared and Simon (both played by Freddie Highmore), their fencing-enthusiast sister Mallory (Sarah Bolger), and their recently divorced mother Helen (Mary-Louise Parker) who move into their great-aunt's abandoned home, the ancient and somewhat dilapidated Spiderwick Estate.

Directed by Mark Waters, shot by Caleb Deschanel, ASC, and edited by Michael Kahn, ACE, the film is a tour-de-force of visual effects by San Francisco's Industrial Light & Magic (www.ilm.com) and Berkeley, CA's Tippett Studio (www.tippett.com), who both used cutting edge post techniques to bring the various creatures to life.

Visual effects pioneer Phil Tippett was creature supervisor and oversaw the design and development of the film's fully-digital fantasy characters Thimbletack, Hogsqueal, the Troll, Red Cap and the army of goblins and bull goblins. On set during the entirety of principal photography, Tippett worked in conjunction with the team from ILM to make certain props and materials were available to shoot the scenes with the actors so the digital characters could be successfully integrated by the visual effects companies during post production.

The team at Tippett Studio — including visual effects supervisor Joel Friesch, computer graphics supervisor Russell Darling and animation supervisor Todd Labonte — was responsible for the final animation of Hogsqueal, the Troll, Red Cap, the goblins and bull goblins, and worked closely in tandem with the ILM crew for scenes in which the two companies shared characters.

At ILM, visual effects supervisor Tim Alexander, an award-winning effects expert whose credits include the last two Harry Potter films, guided the development, animation and integration of the film's ogre Mulgarath and the ill-tempered Bogart. Alexander's team also created a variety of fantastical supporting characters, such as the majestic Griffin, a rapacious Raven, the Snake, Sylph and a host of magical and elaborately-detailed Sprites. Alexander also oversaw the effects artistry involved in creating the seamless interaction between lead twin characters Jared and Simon. Other key ILM team members collaborating on the visual effects included animation supervisor Tim Harrington and visual effects art director Christian Alzmann.

According to Waters, whose credits include Freaky Friday and Mean Girls, dealing with a film full of visual effects was "quite an education. Even getting the basic script into shape was a never-ending process. I started working on this back in 2004, and kept reworking it and overhauling all the effects shots for the creatures right up until we began shooting in September 2006. It was a bit like a moveable feast, in that we kept saying, "we can come up with a better version of this scene or this effect — let's not limit ourselves by the fact that we're shooting in just a few weeks. Let's change it now and come up with a great new concept."

Waters and his team ended up doing a lot of previs in order to get a handle on some of the more complex effects scenes. "We'd take an entire effects sequence, like the 'Journey to the Glade,' and as we were shooting other sequences we'd be working at night and weekends doing previs of some of the most difficult visual effects, and that happened all the way during production," he says. "And then we purposely wrapped early in December in Montreal, where we did the bulk of the shoot, and then shot an extra three weeks later in the spring in LA, as we wanted to really study the footage and see what we had, and then come up with new ideas to make all the effects sequences that much grander." Ultimately, says Waters, the post team spent close to nine months, "just man-handling all the material and figuring it all out."


Over at Tippett, Joel Friesch reports that the studio did a little over 300 effects shots, with a team of 100 artists working for over a year. "I think that from design to end shot, it took about 18 months, and we used Maya as our main workhorse for animation," he says. "We modeled in Maya and Mudbox, then used a 3D paint package and Photoshop'd certain paint in, mostly with Maya and RenderMan. Then we used Shake to do all our compositing."

Although the companies split most of the effects work, Tippett and ILM also collaborated closely on some 30 shots. "Initially the plan was to split the whole show in such a way that Tippett would supervise all the animation and we'd supervise the visual effects work," explains Alexander. "But it didn't turn out that way. In the end, we just split the work so both houses worked independently, and then on the crossover shots we worked very closely together."

"Tim Alexander and I are old friends, and we go way back on other shows, so that made it very easy," notes Friesch. "We could just call each other and say, "I need this or that, or what are you doing about this?" The biggest problem was getting our schedules to line up, so that when their part was done, we could get it right away, and vice-versa. And technically, it all meshed very easily."

The only hiccup in the process came early on. "We had some color correction issues right at the start," he adds. "Every house does their color correction and the handling and color of plates and so on a little differently. So we'd done some tests real early in preproduction, and probably the first thing we did was meet with ILM and get all our guys together and make sure we were all seeing the colors the same way and doing color correction the same way."

For Tippett, the hardest effects shots were of the goblins, when they run out of the woods to surround the house. "It was too big to just hand animate, but not big enough for a crowd program like Massive to take on," recalls Friesch. "So in the end we did some hand animation cycles and used a particle-based system to move particles around the house, which were then replaced by the animation cycles we'd done of running goblins, and that worked really well."

That sequence is "a perfect example" of Tippett and ILM collaborating closely, he adds. "That whole set is a combination of plates, and the house is kind of a 'Frankenplate' of different shots that ILM put together for us so that we could then put in the goblins."

Friesch, whose credits include Enchanted and Charlotte's Web, says that creating the Spiderwick creatures and monsters, "was so much fun, and a relief after doing so many 'fur' shows and furry creatures. And it was also a great test for us, as we had to refine a lot of our existing techniques to create sequences such as the goblins attacking the house, and we're all very pleased with the results."

"This was even bigger than Potter 4, which had about 250 shots, so it was quite a stretch for me," sums up Alexander. "It was a real challenge, but very exciting."


Over at ILM, their part of the puzzle included creating some 370 visual effects shots for a total screen time of 30 minutes. "We had 215 artists working for 15 months to create the shots, and out of the 357, about 230 were 3D shots," reports Alexander. "There were over 203 character animation shots, but then there were also all of the Sylph shots that weren't necessarily animated but simulated. On top of that, there were also all the digital matte paintings and so on."

For Alexander, the biggest challenges were creating the sequences with the Sylphs and the Griffin. "The Sylphs had a look that was very hard to define," he says. "We had shots with five of them in it, and shots with thousands, and trying to get a pack of a thousand dots to look like anything proved to be very tough." (They look essentially like dandelion seeds that you might come across drifting on the wind, but with tiny faces on them.)

To deal with this, the team used various scale models. "For close-ups, we had a full-rez model so we could see their face, and then each hair was modeled and put on the model and sim'ed," he reports. "Then we'd go down from there all the way to the point where we were just projecting a 2D texture onto the particles, depending on what scale they were to camera. But even the middle rez Sylph had the ability to be either simulated or hand-animated. And on top of that, we simulated the hairs on their head as well."

The Griffin was modeled as a half-bird, half-lion creature, "so there's that underlying geometry," explains Alexander. "Then we have these two, very stubby wings, and then we placed individual feathers, all modeled, for his wings. So there are layers and layers of feathers that were modeled and then hand-placed, and those get simulated and they collide with each other, so that the feathers don't penetrate each other. Then the rest of the body feathers and the feathers on its head were procedurally generated by putting hair splines on the Griffin, and then adding feathers to the splines."

Other work included creating digital environments for many scenes and all the doubling shots for Highmore. All animation was done in Autodesk Maya, which was then imported into ILM's in-house Zeno, where the team did lighting and simulation work. "All of our cloth sims were done there," he adds, "and we also have our Fez system that lives both in Maya and Zeno, so an animator can choose which package he wants to use." All compositing was done in Apple Shake. "We do have an in-house package as well," says Alexander, "but we're mainly a Shake house."

As part of their pipeline, ILM also relied heavily on CineSync. "It's what we used for doing all the reviews with the director," reports Alexander. "We used to do transmissions, which were basically run over either satellites or T1 lines that you had to privately rent. It's expensive and takes a lot of equipment. But then Rising Sun in Australia came up with CineSync, and all you need is two computers. So to do all our reviews with Mark, who was down in LA, we had a Mac set up at each end, and at the start of the day we'd trade the files that we wanted to view with them, as for the system to work you need to have the files at both ends. You don't actually transmit any image data while you're doing the session. All you transmit is sync information. So then we could open up a movie file at our end, and it also opens up at their end, and if we hit 'Play' they see it play, and if we hit 'Stop' it stops on the same frame at their end. We could also draw on the frame and they could see it, and vice-versa." For video chatting, the teams used i-Chat, "so we could see the director on one screen, and on the other we'd have the movie file," he adds. "It worked great."

Posted by dschnee at 6:59 AM

January 7, 2008

South of the Border

So after a couple of weeks on holiday break, I'm back into the vfx grind, and am slated for duty on Disney's South of the Border. I haven't actually really started working on it yet, I'm finishing up some EPK's (Electronic Press Kit) breakdowns from Cloverfield for the DVD, VES, and Siggraph submissions this year, but I will be going South of the Border later this week... so what is it?

"While on vacation in Mexico, Chloe, a ritzy Beverly Hills chihuahua (Drew Barrymore), finds herself lost and in need of assistance in order to get back home."

Tippett Studio will bring the animal sidekicks to life. Chico the iguana and Manuel the rat. They will also create several of the fully CG dogs in many of the film's action sequences. Blair Clark and Frank Petzold will be Tippett's in-house VFX Supervisors.

Manuel: A fast-talking pack rat. Manuel is a con artist who works in partnership with Chico, an iguana. a slippery trickster who tries to work every angle, Manuel offers to help a stranded Chloe - in exchange for her diamond collar. A rat who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, Manuel stays on Chloe's path, but soon realizes he has too many pangs of guilt to be a true grifter.

Chico: An iguana. Chico is Manuel's partner; he pretends to be eating Manuel, so that passersby will perceive Manuel as a victim, not as a predator in disguise. Chico tends to let Manuel do the talking, but after they make off with Chloe's diamond necklace, Chico serves as Manuel's conscience, pointing out the invisible pangs of guilt from which they both suffer.

I've seen these critters were doing on the show, the rat is voiced by Cheech Marin, and the other is a pretty slick looking Iguana voiced by ??? can't recall at the moment. But the critters are looking sweet.

The first teaser trailer will be attached The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

Directed by Raja Gosnell (Scooby-Doo, Big Mamma's House, Home Alone 3) yeahhh! what?!

Release Date: August 8th, 2008

See Also:
South of the Border / IMDB
South of the Border / Wiki
South of the Border / HWR Article
And for way more information then you'd ever want to read about:
South of the Border / stb.meyemind.com

(Barrymore yipping at Disney's 'South')
Drew Barrymore has been cast as the lead voice in "South of the Border," a Walt Disney Pictures comedy being directed by Raja Gosnell.

Also lending their voices to the live-action movie in which the animals talk is a who's who of Latino actors including Andy Garcia, Salma Hayek, George Lopez, Cheech Marin, Paul Rodriguez, Placido Domingo, Edward James Olmos and Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo.

"South" chronicles the adventures of a pampered Beverly Hills chihuahua named Chloe (Barrymore) accustomed to riding in a purse. While on vacation in Mexico, she gets lost and must rely on her friends to help her get back home.

Garcia is playing a German shepherd who was kicked off the police force because he lost his sense of smell and has now given up on life. Hayek is Chloe's spirit guide who helps her find her true heritage.

Lopez is Papi, a macho romantic Chihuahua who will do anything for the love of Chloe. Piper Perabo was previously cast as the Chloe's human owner searching for her lost pet.

David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and John Jacobs are producing the film, which was written by Jeff Bushell and Analisa Labianco.

LouAnne Brickhouse and Todd Murata oversee for the studio.

Barrymore, whose recent credits include "Lucky You" and "Music and Lyrics," has done voice work in the past, having been heard in last year's "Curious George" as well as on TV's "Family Guy." She is repped by CAA.

Posted by dschnee at 7:04 AM

6th Annual VES Awards - Nominations List

With only one nomination in this year's VES Awards, Tippett was recognized for Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture with the animatec chipmunk Pip from Enchanted!
Congrats to:
Tom Gibbons, James W. Brown, David Richard Nelson, John Koester, and all the rest of the crew!
As with the Oscar VFX Bake-Off, I'm disappointed not finding Sunshine on the nom list below.
Los Angeles, January 7, 2008 - The Visual Effects Society (VES) today announced the nominees for the 6th Annual VES Awards ceremony recognizing outstanding visual effects in over a dozen categories of film, television, commercials and video games. Nominees were chosen Saturday, January 5, 2008 by numerous panels of VES members who viewed submissions at the FotoKem screening facilities in Burbank. "We received hundreds of submissions from around the world and we are proud to present nominees that push the boundaries of how visual effects can enhance the storytelling process," says Jeff Okun, VES Chair. "Looking at the level of complexity and creativity of this year's nominees, it is clear that the VES is the single most important
pool of talent, experience and knowledge in the visual effects world."
The nominees for the 6th Annual VES Awards are the following:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture
I Am Legend
Janek Sirrs, Mike Chambers, Jim Berney, Crys Forsyth-Smith

Scott Farrar, Shari Hanson, Russel Earl, Scott Benza

The Golden Compass
Michael Fink, Susan MacLeod, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
John Knoll, Jill Brooks, Hal Hickel, Charlie Gibson

Spider-Man 3
Scott Stokdyk, Terry Clotiaux, Peter Nofz, Spencer Cook

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture

Michael Fong, Apurva Shah, Christine Waggoner, Michael Fu

Eric Barba, Craig Barron, Janelle Croshaw, Chris Evans

We Own the Night
Kelly Port, Julian Levi, Brad Parker, Olivier Sarda

The Kite Runner
David Ebner, Les Jones, Todd Perry, Leif Einarsson

Blades of Glory
Mark Breakspear, Randy Starr, Shauna Bryan, Kody Sabourin

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or Special
Mike Gibson, Gary Hutzel, Sean Jackson, Pierre Drolet

RACE TO MARS - Getting to Mars
Manon Barriault, Jacques Levesque, Olivier Goulet, Benoit Girard

DOCTOR WHO CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 2007 - Voyage of the Damned
David Houghton, Will Cohen

Dina Benadon, Evan Jacobs, Brent Young, Chris Christman

TIN MAN - Night One
Lee Wilson, Lisa Sepp-Wilson, Sebastien Bergeron

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series
HEROES - Episode 208 - “Four Months Ago”
Eric Grenaudier, Mark Spatny, Diego Galtieri, Mike Enriquez

David Houghton, Will Cohen

Mark Savela, Shannon Gurney, Erica Henderson, Jamie Yukio Kawano

FIGHT FOR LIFE - Episode 4
Philip Dobree, Nicola Instone, Marco Iozzi, Matt Chandler

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - Episode 316 - “Maelstrom”
Mike Gibson, Gary Hutzel, Michael J. Davidson, Kyle Toucher

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
Sam Nicholson, Scott Ramsey, Valeri Pfahning, Mike Enriquez

Richard Martin, Pierre Raymond, Sebastien Rioux, Nadine Homier

Raoul Yorke Bolognini, Loni Peristere, Steve Meyer, Chris Jones

ROME 2 - Episode 6 - “Philippi”
James Madigan, Barrie Hemsley, Duncan Kinnard, Gary Broznich

Craig Weiss, Toni Pace Carstensen, Brian Vogt, Jimmy Berndt

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial
BACARDI - Bacardi Sun
Vittorio Giannini, Franck Lambertz, Robin Carlisle, Nico Cotta

ZUNE - The Ballad of Tina Pink
Luisa Murray, Laurent Ledru, Katrina Salicrup, Miles Essmiller

Simon Maddison, Dave Kelly, Mike Bain, Sam Cole

BMW - Road
Chris Fieldhouse, Jay Barton, Ron Herbst, Dave Stern

William Bartlett, Scott Griffin, Dan Seddon, David Mellor

Best Single Visual Effect of the Year
TRANSFORMERS - Desert Highway Sequence
Scott Farrar, Shari Hanson, Shawn Kelly, Michael Jamieson

John Knoll, Jill Brooks, Francois Lambert, Philippe Rebours

300 - Crazy Horse Sequence
Chris Watts, Gayle Busby, Kirsty Millar

SURF’S UP - Riding the Visual Effects Tube
Rob Bredow, Lydia Bottegoni, Daniel Kramer, Matt Hausman

SPIDER-MAN 3 - The Birth of Sandman
Scott Stokdyk, Terry Clotiaux, Spencer Cook, Doug Bloom

Outstanding Real Time Visuals in a Video Game
Michael Mann, Wilson Tang, Eduardo Agostini, Carl Jarrett

CRYSIS - Realtime Visuals
Michael Endres, Michael Khaimzon

Jason Mitchell, Moby Franke, Chris Green, Dhabih Eng

HALO 3 - Halo 3 Footage
Marcus Lehto, Jonty Barnes, Stephen Scott, CJ Cowan

MASS EFFECT - Game Sequence
Derek Watts, Casey Hudson

Outstanding Pre-Rendered Visuals in a Video Game
Richard Taylor, Matt Britton, Ben Hopkins, Tang Katai

Tim Miller, Jerome Denjean, Al Shier

Jeff Chamberlain, Scott Abeyta

Tomek Baginski, Marcin Kobylecki, Grzegorz Kukus, Maciek Jackiewicz

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
Mario Couturier, Vincent Roberge, Richard Bergeron, Martin L'Heureux

Roger Gould, Liz Gazzano, Joe Garlington, Dan Colajacomo

Sean Phillips, Jack Geist, Robin Aristorenas, Mark Dubeau

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture
SPIDER-MAN 3 - Sandman
Chris Yang, Bernd Anger, Dominick Cecere, Remington Scott

Richard Frances-Moore, Martin Hill, Marco Revelant, Daniel Barrett

Hal Hickel, Marc Chu, Jakub Pistecky, Maia Kayser

Tom Gibbons, James W. Brown, David Richard Nelson, John Koester

TRANSFORMERS - Optimus Prime
Rick O'Connor , Doug Sutton, Keiji Yamaguchi, Jeff White

I AM LEGEND - The Infected Leader
David Schaub, Marco Marenghi, Josh Beveridge

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Motion Picture
SURF'S UP - Chicken Joe
David Schaub, Moon Jun Kang, Brian Casper, Andreas Procopiou

John Cleese, Guillaume Aretos, Tim Cheung, Sean Mahoney

BEOWULF - Beowulf
Keith Smith, Scott Holmes, Pericles Michielin, Kenn McDonald

SURF'S UP - Cody
David Schaub, Pete Nash, James Crossley, Shia LaBeouf

Janeane Garofalo, Jaime Landes, Sonoko Konishi , Paul Aichele

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Broadcast Program or Commercial
Nicolas Hernandez, Adam Burnett, Neil Roche

Nicklas Andersson, Mike Mellor, Sylvain Marc, Florent DeLa Taille

PRIMEVAL - Episode 6 - Predator Animation
Mathieu Vig, Antoine Birot, Simon Thistlethwaite, Kevin O'Sullivan

AMP - Paper
Fred Raimondi, Chris De Santis, Angie Jones, Narbeh Mardirossian

BEN 10: RACE AGAINST TIME - Grey Matter Sequence
Brent Young, Michael Smith

PROPEL - Stress Monster
Mitch Drain, Sean Faden, Matt Hackett, Denis Gauthier

Outstanding Effects in an Animated Motion Picture
BEOWULF - Dragon Chase
Theo Vandernoot, Vincent Serritella, Rob Engle, Pericles Michielin

Matt Baer, Greg Hart, Krzysztof Rost, Anthony Field

Jon Reisch, Jason Johnston, Eric Froemling, Tolga Goktekin

SURF’S UP - Riding Wave - CG Style
Rob Bredow, Daniel Kramer, Matt Hausman, Danny Dimian

Darwyn Peachey, Chen Shen

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Motion Picture
SWEENEY TODD - The Old Bailey
Raf Morant, Julian Gnass, Nakia McGlynn, Christine Wong

Frank Losasso Petterson , Paul Sharpe , Joakim Arnesson , David Meny

ZODIAC - Washington and Cherry
Wei Zheng, Greg Szafranski, Janelle Croshaw, Karl Denham

David Vickery, Philippe LePrince, Trina Roy, Jolene McCaffrey

Barry Williams, Robert Weaver , Jay Cooper , Masahiko Tani

I AM LEGEND - Times Square Hunt
Daniel Eaton, Blaine Kennison, Ron Gress, Daveed Shwartz

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Broadcast Program or

Phi Tran, Matthew Lee, Martin Hilke, Andrew Roberts

TIN MAN - Night One
Les Quinn, Ken Less, Andrew Domachowski, Jonah West

UGLY BETTY - “A League of their Own”
Chris Martin, Michael Cook, Cedric Tomacruz

SMALLVILLE - Metropolis City
Kaz Yoshida, Jack Matsumoto, Andrea Shear, Eli Jarra

SUBARU - “Peel Out”
Graham Fyffe, Chris Nichols, Chris Bankoff, Daniel Buck

Outstanding Models or Miniatures in a Motion Picture
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END - Practical and Digital Ships
Ken Bailey, Bruce Holcomb, Carl Miller , Geoff Heron

LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD - Freeway Sequence - F35 Miniature and Effects
Ian Hunter, Scott Schneider, Scott Beverly, John Cazin

Dave Fogler , Ron Woodall , Alex Jaeger, Brian Gernand

Jose Granell, Nigel Stone

SPIDER-MAN 3 - Building / Crane Destruction Miniature and Effects
Ian Hunter, Scott Beverly, Forest Fischer, Raymond Moore

Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture
Pat Tubach , Beth D'Amato , Todd Vaziri , Mike Conte

Lou Pecora, Joel Behrens, Ted Andre, Kevin Lingenfelser

Eddie Pasquarello , Katrin Klaiber, Jen Howard, Shawn Hillier

I AM LEGEND - Seaport Evacuation
Darren Lurie, John Sasaki, Rita Kunzler, Fish Essenfeld

Areito Echevarria, Gareth Dinneen, Norman Cates, Caterina Schiffers

Jolene McCaffrey, Jelena Stojanovic, Victor Wade, Adam Pashke

Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
SMALLVILLE, SEASON 6 - Episode 11, Justice
Rob Reinhart, Jack Matsumoto, Takashi Takeoka, Christina Spring

TIN MAN - Night One
Todd Liddiard, Philippe Thibault, Lionel Lim, Annabelle Kent

NIKE - Leave Nothing
James Allen, Rob Trent

SMALLVILLE - Bizarro Flood
David Alexander, Kaz Yoshida, Geeta Basantani, Tony White

LEVIS - Change
Tim Davies, Jason Schugardt, Yuichiro Yamashito

Outstanding Special Effects in a Motion Picture
John Richardson, Stephen Hamilton, Richard Farns, Stephen Hutchinson

Outstanding Special Effects in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
ACTIVELY SAFE - Lexus Hydrant
Dave Peterson, Anthony De La Cruz

The 6th Annual VES Awards will take place on Feb. 10, 2008 at the Kodak Theatre
Grand Ballroom in Hollywood. Last year’s event attracted more than eight hundred
celebrities, visual effects and animation artists, dozens of nominees and members of the film, television and gaming industries. Winners from 2007 included Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (John Knoll, Jill Brooks, Hal Hickel, Charlie Gibson) for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture and Battlestar Galactica - Episode 303b “Exodus” (Gary Hutzel, Michael Gibson, Alec McClymont, Brenda Campbell) for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series.

This year the VES will present Steven Spielberg the VES Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes the contribution that his vast body of work, as both a director and producer, has made to the art and science of visual effects.
Updated information on the VES Awards can be found at www.vesawards.com.

Posted by dschnee at 6:43 AM

January 2, 2008

Exclusive Cloverfield Clip for 2008

from Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.

Posted by dschnee at 2:13 AM

January 1, 2008

Happy New Year! and my Best Films of 2007

Here are the top 10 films I enjoyed the most in 2007, from those I have seen anyway...

10 - I'm leaving this one open to any of the following still on my list to see from 2007: and this first one I expect will make my top 3... There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson) Rescue Dawn (Werner Herzog), 3:10 to Yuma (James Mangold), Across the Universe (Julie Taymor), American Gangster (Ridley Scott), Charlie Wilson's War (Mike Nichols), and I'm Not There (Todd Haynes).
9 The Lookout (Scott Frank)
8 Enchanted (Kevin Lima)
7 No Country for Old Men (The Coen Brothers)
6 Paris, Je T'aime (numerous directors)
5 300 (Zack Snyder)
4 Superbad (Greg Mottola)
3 Grindhouse (Planet Terror/Deathproof) (Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino)
2 Sunshine (Danny Boyle)
1 Black Book (Paul Verhoeven)

Worth a Mention:

Black Snake Moan (Craig Brewer )
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (David Yates)
Juno (Jason Reitman)
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Gore Verbinski)
Ratatouille (Brad Bird)
Surf's Up (Ash Brannon)
Transformers (Michael Bay)
Zodiac (David Fincher)

Here's what I'm looking forward to in 2008?:?

Cloverfield (Matt Reeves) [Trailer] - all this viral marketing can't let us down, can it?
The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan) [Trailer] - going to be awesome.
Hellboy II: The GOlden Army (Guillermo del Toro) [Teaser] - This one will F'ing Rule! no question.
Jumper (Doug Liman) [Teaser] - pretty sweet teaser!
Hancock (Peter Berg) [Teaser] - This one looks fun.
Wall-E (Andrew Stanton) [Trailer2] - I think this one could be on par with the Incredibles...
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher) - I've heard great things about the digital aging going on at DD, plus this is Fincher, nuff said.
Starship Troopers: Marauder (Edward Neumeier) - very curious as to how this one turns out.
The Spiderwick Chronicles (Mark Waters) [Trailer] - I know, I've seen this one already but I'm still excited to see how it does and to see the final theatrical release...
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Steven Spielberg) - come on...I know Ford is getting old, and the tile is way too long, but it's Spielberg!
10,000 B.C. (Roland Emmerich) [Trailer] - could be F'ing cool as b.c. dung, or simply suck, either way the prehistoric beasts appear to look amazing.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (David Yates) - should be solid, the last couple books are fantastic, so this one should rock.
Only because I'm curious from a stylistic point of view, it might be silly as sin, but Speed Racer (The Wachowski's) [Teaser] - parts of it are looking a little shark boy and lava girl, parts of it are looking matrix, so hopefully it's somewhere in the middle, but fresh and more cool, yet with a 60's vibe, good luck 2008!

Posted by dschnee at 11:46 PM