Aragorn

J.R.R. Tolkien‘s The Hobbit unfolds decades before Frodo ever got his hands on the One Ring, but all the same, the three-part movie adaptation from Peter Jackson managed to rope in a bunch of familiar faces from the Lord of the Rings cinematic trilogy. Some, like Ian McKellan’s Gandalf, were part of the story as originally conceived by Tolkien; others, like Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel, were made to fit into the plot; and still others, like Elijah Wood’s Frodo, were included as part of a framing device.

All of which is to say that Jackson probably could’ve found a way to work in another fan favorite, Viggo Mortensen‘s Aragorn, if he’d really wanted to. Turns out, though, that the actor wasn’t having it. Hit the jump to read his comments.

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In a weird way, special effects are never less noticeable than when they’re done really well. The best artists are able to blend the real and the unreal so seamlessly that it’s all but impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. So it’s cool to get a chance to see the painstaking labor that goes into enhancing these films, as we do in two new VFX reels for Looper and The Hobbit.

In a similar vein, we also have behind-the-scenes featurettes from Brave and Life of Pi, which not only explore the making-of processes but also offer commentary from directors Mark Andrews and Ang Lee (respectively). Watch all four videos after the jump.

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Around this time every year, for as far back as I can remember, I pick and write about the ten movies I’m most looking forward in the coming year. Here on /Film I did it for the movies of 2011 as well as the movies of 2012 and, in the coming days, I’ll do it for 2013.

Before that, though, we thought it would be fun to look back at the films I chose as my ten anticipated for this year and see how well I did. Did any of these films make my top ten of the year? Did they at least meet expectations? Check out some of my embarrassing, and not so embarrassing, picks after the jump.  Read More »

We’ve all thought about it. We’ve thought about it multiple times. When he’s on the top of Isengard. When they join fight at the gates of Mordor. When they save Frodo and Sam from Mordor in Return of the King. When they help the dwarves in An Unexpected Journey. Why the hell doesn’t Gandalf just ask the giant eagles to bring the Fellowship to Mordor in the Lord of the Rings or the dwarves to the Lonely Mountain in The Hobbit? They seem willing to help, very strong and it’s not a big deal. Wouldn’t that have saved a lot of time, stress and lives?

Two artists think they have the answer. Not really, of course, but it’s funny nonetheless. Check it out below. Read More »

Today’s the day — over a decade after the premiere of Peter Jackson‘s The Fellowship of the Ring, the director returns to Middle-Earth with the first of three planned films adapting J.R.R. Tolkien‘s first novel The Hobbit. The films won’t adapt only that book, however, as Jackson and co-writers Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro have also incorporated elements from appendecies and supplements to The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien eventually devised a dense amount of parallel story to buttress the episodic adventure of The Hobbit, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey incorporates some of that material.

The film is also Jackson’s first film set in Middle-Earth to be shot on a digital camera and in 3D, and the first studio feature film ever to be shot and projected at a high frame rate of 48 fps, compared to the standard 24fps.

Suffice to say, despite the presence of familiar Lord of the Rings faces such as Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Christopher Lee, and Hugo Weaving, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is very much a different look at Middle-Earth. Germain has weighed in on the film itself, and I’ve put down some thoughts on the high frame rate presentation. Now, tell us what you thought of the film, below. Spoilers follow in the text after the break, and are encouraged in the comments to facilitate full discussion of the film. Read More »

Ever since Sam settled down with Rosie and Frodo left for the Grey Havens, J.R.R. Tolkien fans have been waiting for this day. Peter Jackson‘s new Middle Earth adventure, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is finally here. It’s the first of three films adapting the prelude to The Lord of the Rings following Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) on an epic quest to help a group of dwarves regain the treasure that’s rightfully theirs.

All through production, co-writer and director Peter Jackson has been posting fantastic video blogs keeping fans updated on the film, publicity and much more. This is the 10th and final installment for the first film, taking us through the very end of post-production, into the press junket and finally the premiere. It’s the perfect watch if you plan on seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey this weekend. Check it out below. Read More »

In the first frames of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the camera briefly lingers on a pair of hands in close-up as they light a candle. As the small flame flares, the camera pulls back to show the aged Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), and the seemingly mundane sequence concludes with a shot that might be unlike anything else you’ve ever seen in a theater.

Peter Jackson shot The Hobbit on digital cameras that captured images at 48 frames per second. That 48fps speed, which we’ll refer to as High Frame Rate (HFR) from here out, is twice the long-held industry standard 24fps. The benefits of HFR include reduced or eliminated motion blur, and a notable increase in general clarity. The downside is that HFR doesn’t look exactly like cinema, or at least not like anything typically projected on film screens.

With those downsides noted, consider this, too: that first shot of Ian Holm as Bilbo has more visual information than any shot of the actor in any other film. He appears to be in the same room with the audience. Details of Holm’s hair (a wig), his prosthetic ears and well-designed wardrobe are impossible to miss. It feels, at first, as if it’s impossible to miss anything, so clear is the picture.

Weird, that such heightened clarity should anger so many cinephiles. Read More »

Not surprisingly, today’s tidbits begin with Star Trek Into Darkness. After the jump:

  • Simon Pegg is laughing at your Star Trek fan theories
  • You can count out Danny Boyle for Bond 24
  • Clerks III already has a 70-page outline
  • Andy Serkis talks The Hobbit and Apes
  • A Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sequel is coming 
  • Barbara Hershey will return for Insidious 2
  • Wolverine, X-MenApes, and Percy Jackson go 3D

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