Since getting into filmmaking over thirty years ago, Robert Zemeckis has had an incredible career. He’s tackled multiple genres, won Oscars, written some of the most revered films ever and then, after about twenty years, he took a dramatic turn. Zemeckis began making films with a new technology called performance capture and experienced great success. Exploring in the playground of animation, and advancing a technology in its infancy, confirmed his innovative tendencies, but some argued that it began to overshadow his talent for storytelling.

That talent is back on display in Flight, Zemeckis’ first live action film in over a decade. It’s about an airline pilot named Whip (Denzel Washington) who lands a distressed plane while intoxicated. Is is a hero? A drunk? Can he be both? The film asks lots of complicated questions with not always complicated answers. Still, it’s filled with intense moments, emotional resonance, and plenty of surprises for the audience.

One thing that’s not a surprise is that Zemeckis has still got it, and that talent is well on display in several minutes of B-roll footage that’s been released. Check it out below. Read More »

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An Oscar-winner for Forrest Gump and director of some of our favorite movies, it’s hard to imagine that Robert Zemeckis hasn’t made a live-action film in over a decade. Then, the year was 2000, and the film was Cast Away. Though the director of Back to the Future, Contact, and Used Cars has found some of his greatest commercial success in the last twelve years, all the films have used motion capture. Despite any financial success, however, The Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol never quite satisfied the older Zemeckis fans who yearned for him to get out of the computer and back into the real world.

He’s finally doing that with Flight, an intimate, challenging character study about a pilot (Denzel Washington) who lands a crashing plane while drunk. More than a return to live-action, it’s a return to maturity for Zemeckis, as it’s his first R-rated movie in some time, complete with foul language, nudity, and drug use. It opens November 9.

Speaking at this weekend’s press junket for Flight, Zemeckis said while fans might see his career as having taken a detour, he doesn’t see it that way. Read his quote and discuss after the jump. Read More »

After a dozen-year stretch in Uncanny Valley, Robert Zemeckis has returned to the world of live-action with the substance abuse drama Flight. It’s not the smoothest ride. The film’s alcoholism plotline veers toward the generic, the symbolism is often so blunt as to be laughable, and the supporting players are mostly one-note.

What keeps it on course, however, is the compassionate but honest character study at its core. Zemeckis and screenwriter John Gatins (Real Steel) have an iron grip on who Captain William “Whip” Whitaker is and what makes him tick, and Denzel Washington‘s grounded performance maintains the audience’s sympathy without sugarcoating Whip’s nasty side.

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After years of working in the (self-imposed) motion-capture gulag, Robert Zemeckis returns to live-action with Flight. He’s got other live-action work lined up, but one of his next projects may go back to his classic blend of live-action and animation, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.

A Roger Rabbit sequel has been talked up for years and years, but seemed to have a big roadblock thrown in front of it over this past summer when Bob Hoskins, the lead of the original movie, retired from acting. But Zemeckis says that a sequel is still possible, just as soon as Disney gets its house in order. Read More »

In 2011, before shooting his new movie Flight, which is playing film festivals now, Robert Zemeckis started considering a new film with Tom Hanks. Major Matt Mason is co-written by Hanks and Graham Yost, and is called “a live-action family film about space adventure.”

We haven’t heard much about the project since then, but now with Zemeckis bringing Flight into theaters, Hanks is talking about the space-bound movie once again. Looks like the project may actually go ahead, with independent financing as the financial fuel. Read More »

With the fall movie season well underway, we have new promos for two releases due out in November. The first is a 90-second spot for Flight, Robert Zemeckis‘ long-awaited return to live action. Denzel Washington stars as a pilot who’s lauded as a hero when miraculously saves a plane full of passengers with a deft crash-landing. But as an investigation digs deeper into the circumstances surrounding the incident, the story and his life begins to unravel.

The other is an extended TV spot for Rise of the Guardians, a DreamWorks Animation tale about all the mythological figures of childhood imagination — Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc. — banding together to save the world from an evil spirit called Pitch. Watch both videos after the jump.

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A fresh batch of posters for three films on our radar have just hit the web. The ones for Allen HughesBroken City and Robert ZemeckisFlight both rely heavily on star power, which seems like a reasonable strategy when said stars include Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg, and Denzel Washington.

The pretty, snowy poster for David Chase‘s Not Fade Away, meanwhile, captures the heady feeling of youthful romance and rock n’ roll. Get a peek at all three after the jump.

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Robert Zemeckis has spent most of the past decade working on mo-cap animated films, but now that he’s back in the live-action realm he’s wasting no time snapping up new projects. As his next film Flight prepares to land in theaters, he’s circling a couple of projects including the Ghostbusters-esque Charles Fort. He’s also said to be eyeing Taking Flight: The Hunt for a Young Outlaw, based on the true story of the teenaged Barefoot Bandit. More details after the jump.

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