super nintendo world

The first Super Nintendo Land is coming to Universal Studios Japan, and it is shaping up to be one of the most immersive and tech-forward theme park lands to date. Billed as “a life-size, living video game,” Super Nintendo Land may be the closest theme park guests will get to being dropped in the middle of a Super Mario game — barring the part where you grow to the size of a giant, probably. And it’s all thanks to new wearable tech.

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WarnerMedia WB Logo

Update: An in-the-know source has reached out to correct some of the information in this story. Turns out that Cinelytic is only being used by Warner Bros. International as an additive tool to help select release dates, and not, as many have suggested, in any sort of major creative capacity. Our original story continues below.

The frequent tug-of-war between art and commerce means that there have long been Hollywood studio executives whose jobs include looking at analytics and trying to assess whether greenlighting a certain film will be financially beneficial to their shareholders. Now Warner Bros. is inviting artificial intelligence into the equation, because the studio has signed a deal with a company called Cinelytic to use its project management system and “leverage the system’s comprehensive data and predictive analytics to guide decision-making at the greenlight stage.” Is this situation as bad as it sounds?

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the rise of skywalker hidden video

What does it take to get Disney and Amazon, two of the biggest corporations in the world, to join forces? The shared goal of making lots and lots of money off a little movie called Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

An exclusive Rise of Skywalker hidden video is currently accessible at a Star Wars merch page on Amazon, containing some soundbites from director/co-writer J.J. Abrams and his cast as they reflect on not just making this movie, but looking back at the Skywalker saga as a whole. And for those who have already completed your holiday shopping and aren’t sucked in by the siren song of Star Wars paraphernalia, you can just watch the video and abstain from the capitalism of it all (until you pay for a ticket to go see the movie, of course).
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pause ads

As cable and broadcast television networks stand in the face of streaming services, they’re having to come up with creative ways to make money. AT&T‘s solution? A newfangled video version of a “pause ad,” which is, unfortunately, exactly what it sounds like. Thirty seconds after you press pause on your remote, a full video ad (with sound!) begins playing on your screen. I guess AT&T wanted to dump a piece of coal into its customers’ stockings during the holiday season.
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Stagecraft technology

Jon Favreau has been pushing the boundaries of filmmaking technology for years, and his new Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian is the latest example of the director seeing an opportunity to redefine what’s possible. He and Lucasfilm have established what they’re calling “Stagecraft” technology, which essentially allows for imagery to be projected onto ultra-high resolution screens that wrap around the sets, enveloping actors in alien locations without having to rely on green screens.

While we have yet to see a behind-the-scenes featurette from The Mandalorian giving insight into what that exact technology looks like, here’s a video that approximates the experience.
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joker 70mm

If there’s one thing you can say for certain about Joker, it’s that it certainly looks cinematic. Director Todd Phillips and cinematographer Lawrence Sher drew inspiration from several classic ’70s films to form the look and feel of their villain origin story, particularly Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. But one thing they could not imitate from that era was the celluloid film the movies were shot on. However, Sher reveals that the original plan for Joker was to shoot the film in 70mm film — before those plans were shot down by Warner Bros.

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Disney gender bias

Since 2004, Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis (The Accidental Tourist, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Thelma and Louise, GLOW) has been at the forefront of the conversation about representation on film. That’s when she founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a research-based organization which aims to educate content creators, marketers, and audiences about the importance of eliminating unconscious bias in entertainment.

She and her team have developed a new digital tool which uses artificial intelligence to check scripts for gender bias, and The Walt Disney Company has agreed to use that tool to assess all of its upcoming film and TV projects. Read more about the new tool below. Read More »

the irishman de-aging

Digital de-aging is either the scourge of cinema or an exciting new tool for filmmakers, depending on whom you ask. But the effects in Martin Scorsese‘s new gangster epic The Irishman lie somewhere in between. This conversation comes on the heels of the technology’s busiest year yet, with studios smoothing out the faces of their stars in Captain Marvel, It Chapter 2, and Ang Lee’s upcoming Gemini Man. In each of the aforementioned films apart from Captain Marvel (thanks to Marvel Studios having almost perfected the tech), the de-aging has been roundly criticized, though perhaps not nearly as much as the effects in The Irishman.

When the first trailers for The Irishman were released by Netflix, the grumblings over Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci‘s silky-smooth skin and uncanny valley faces began, and were amplified when the streaming giant released stills of De Niro looking like a PS2-era video game character. But rest assured, the de-aging effects in The Irishman (mostly) work. At the very least, there is no other way that Scorsese could have made his latest masterwork.

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digital actors

As technology advances and digitally de-aged actors begin to look less shiny and more human in big blockbuster movies, it’s becoming an exciting or a disheartening time for cinema, depending on who you ask. Are fully CG characters, like the digital recreations of Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a touching homage to their legacies or cinematic sacrilege? Or is this just the future that Hollywood is heading toward?

Those are questions that are too tough to answer right away, but one that pioneering motion-capture performer Andy Serkis is attempting to draw more attention to. And, despite the technological innovations he himself has made as a digital actor, Serkis does think that the topic raises more “serious issues” than we may realize.

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Tinder original series

Netflix. Amazon Prime Video. Hulu. DC Universe. Shudder. The Criterion Channel. Vudu. CBS All Access. We’re already practically drowning in streaming services, and we haven’t even seen the official launches of AppleTV+, Disney+, HBO Max, Quibi, or Peacock yet. But now yet another streaming service is entering the fray, and it’s an unexpected player in this arena: Tinder.

Yep, the dating app is getting into the streaming game now with its first Tinder original series, an untitled show which debuts next month that centers on the end of the world. Could the apocalypse be triggered by the fact that there are too many streaming services? Tune in to find out! Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming series. Read More »