Visual effects in movies have advanced in a spectacular way in the relatively short history of cinema. What once was thought to be impossible to create in post-production has become a mainstay in blockbuster tentpoles. More recently, visual effects companies have become quite skilled in creating human faces entirely with computer generated imagery, and a new video essay shows us how this part of movie magic has evolved in a small window of time.
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David Fincher began his directorial career making music videos for some of the biggest talents in pop music. Beginning with Alien³ in 1992, his work in features has combined a drive for technical achievement off-screen with a consistently recognizable interest in detail-oriented obsession on-screen. He is a consummate craftsman, but one with an uncanny ability to lay his finger right on the cultural pulse. Together, those talents result in films which have gone beyond reflecting cultural attitudes, to defining them.
With the release of his latest film, Gone Girl, we’ve taken the opportunity to revisit the director’s narrative works on film. (And, briefly, in television.) Below is a list of the films of David Fincher ranked by achievement. It’s a highly subjective effort, we realize. Where does Gone Girl fit in alongside Fight Club, Se7en, The Social Network, and Zodiac? What stands out as the best film in his career to date, and what virtues can we find even in his least successful efforts? As you’d expect with Fincher, the answer to that last question is a lot more detailed than it would be for many other filmmakers. Compare our list with your own after reading further.
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Daniel Silva has edited a 17-minute tribute to filmmaker David Fincher, artfully splicing together the director’s nine feature films including Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This video tribute does not include Fincher’s Alien 3 (because, you know why), his 1985 documentary The Beat of the Live Drum (probably because it isnt a narrative feature film) or his upcoming film Gone Girl. The edit is not just a music video like most of the tribute videos you see these days, including lengthy bits of scenes. That said, the short does include “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails and “Oraculum” by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross. Watch Daniel Silva’s The Films of David Fincher now embedded after the jump.
/Film reader Derek Stettler has compiled a video titled “Reel Wisdom: Lessons from 40 Films in 7 Minutes,” which does just what it claims. Here is more from the editor:
I made this video because I love films and I think there is great wisdom inherent in the film medium. This video represents some of the best wisdom from films, edited together as a single coherent piece of advice on everything from life, death, and purpose, to anger, regret, and destiny. In creating this video, I tried to feature a broad array of films, from action/adventure and sci-fi films, to dramas and traditional/CG animated films in order to show how all genres of film have something important to say.
Watch the video embedded after the jump.
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Last night, the Academy of Science-Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films held the 35th annual Saturn Awards. The Dark Knight was the big winner of the night, taking home five awards, including Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film, Best Supporting Actor (Ledger), Best Writer, Best Music and Best Special Effects. Iron Man, Battlestar Galactica, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button each won three awards. A full listing of winners is available after the jump
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This Week in DVD is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.
Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. The categories represent solely the author’s intentions towards the DVDs at hand, and are in no way meant to be a reflection on what he thinks other people should rent or buy. So if he ends up putting a movie you like in the “Skip it” section without having seen it, please keep in mind that the time you could spend leaving a spiteful but ultimately futile comment could instead be used for more pleasant things in life. Like buying DVDs.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Criterion Edition)
David Fincher is a director who’s responsible for a number of my all-time favorite films… The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, however, is not one of them. This is a movie that I’d recommend more for its technical merits than its story, which uses its excellent “backwards aging” premise primarily as a gimmick; remove it, and you have yourself a fairly standard ‘sprawling’ tale of a disabled man’s life, as he experiences love, loss, sorrow and all that other wonderful tear-jerky, Oscar-baity goodness. This should come as no surprise, really, given that screenwriter Eric Roth basically just recycled most of the major story beats from Forrest Gump.
Notable Extras: There are no extras on the single-disc, while the 2-disc Criterion Edition includes a commentary by director David Fincher and a 4-part The Curious Birth of Benjamin Button documentary.
|Amazon – $15.99|
*Does not include 2-Disc Criterion Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (including Amazon).
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In this episode of the /Filmcast, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley discuss the criteria for getting chosen for the Criterion Collection, and reflect on the state of I Love You, Philip Morris. Special guest Alison Willmore from IFC and the Indie Eye blog joins us this evening, and reports from the SXSW film festival.
You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next Monday night at Slashfilm’s live page at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST as we review Monsters vs. Aliens.
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You know a filmmaker has a lot of pull when he can force a big movie studio to allow him to release his film on DVD/Blu-ray through The Criterion Collection — the distributor and label of choice of film snobs around the world. Paramount Home Entertainment has announced that David Fincher‘s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will be released in a two disc Criterion edition dvd and blu-ray on May 5th 2009. Full press release after the jump.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
As a kid I was obsessed with those movie magic specials. It was kind of like finding out how a magician did his magic tricks. As digital special effects have taken over, I feel the movie magic reveal has become less fun. Watching the special effects featurette on a DVD is usually one of the least interesting things on the disc. So it’s great when a video like this comes along.
Digital Domain’s Executive Vice President Ed Ulbrich gave a talk at TED2009, explaining “How Benjamin Button Got His Face.” TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). Ulbrich explains the Oscar-winning technology that allowed his team to digitally create older versions of Brad Pitt’s face for David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This talk was recorded in February 2009 in Long Beach, California. Watch the video after the jump.
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What if The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Dark Knight were combined into one movie, starring… Jimmy Kimmel? No need to wonder “What If?”, check out The Curious Case of Benjamin Batman embedded after the jump.
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