The 2020 box office is currently paused, so let’s jump in the Wayback machine and look at the biggest failure of 2019, shall we? A new report reveals that the biggest box office bomb of 2019 was none other than X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the final nail in the coffin of Fox’s X-Men franchise. Yes, even Cats was a bigger “hit” than Dark Phoenix, and that’s saying something. Read More »
Gemini Man, in which Will Smith comes face to face with a de-aged clone of himself, was made from a ’90s script originally meant for Tony Scott. At some point, it was saddled with mid-2000s military politics and anxieties — a la the Bourne films — until eventually, Ang Lee got his hands on it, turning it into a futuristic visual experiment. Like Lee’s previous film, the contained war drama Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016), Gemini Man was shot at 120 frames per second, and was projected as such on the handful of screens that could accommodate it.
Unfortunately, not a single screen could show the film exactly as Lee had intended — at 120fps, in 3D, and at a 4K resolution — which is a shame, given that Lee is one of the most visually interesting filmmakers working in Hollywood. But does his use of “HFR” (High Frame Rate) actually work? Well, not exactly. I’m not sure a narrative film shot at 120fps can work, barring very specific circumstances. However, the conversation about Lee’s use of technology, and the kinds of stories he applies them to, is worth having.
First, a brief primer: What does 120fps mean?
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The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, check out some Easter eggs and references you might have missed in the first season of Disenchantment on Netflix. Plus, visual effects artists take a look at the work done on movies like Gemini Man, the robot from I Am Mother, and other movies, and Kevin Smith breaks down some theories and questions that fans have had about Jay and Silent Bob. Read More »
Perhaps the world just wasn’t ready for two Will Smiths in the same movie. Ang Lee‘s Gemini Man, an action spectacle in which Smith has to fight a younger clone of himself, did paltry box office in America, but there was a hope that its weekend release in China could turn things around. But that didn’t happen. The end result is a box office bomb, with Gemini Man suffering a loss of at least $75 million. Ouch.
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Though critics didn’t seem to care for Gemini Man much, one of the consistent compliments among many have been with regards to the visual effects used to create a young Will Smith that faces off with an older version of Will Smith. The team behind this amazing technological achievement in visual effects has consistently touted the fact that they didn’t simply de-age Will Smith’s face, but instead, they created a completely digital model of young Will Smith that was informed by a motion-capture performance. Now a Gemini Man visual effects breakdown reveals how it was accomplished. Read More »
David, Devindra, and Jeff review Gemini Man, the latest film by Academy Award winning director Ang Lee. Listen to find out whether Lee’s obsession with high frame rate technology pays off in the Will Smith versus Will Smith action flick.
Listen and subscribe to David’s newest podcast Culturally Relevant. Check out Jeff Cannata’s D&D show Dungeon Run. Listen to David’s other podcasts The Sweet Smell of Succession with Tara Ariano and Write Along with writer C. Robert Cargill. Listen to Devindra’s podcast with Engadget on all things tech.
You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
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The weekend box office returns are in, and once again, Joker reigns supreme. The Todd Phillips movie starring Joaquin Phoenix as a crazy killer clown who loves to dance ended up at the top of the box office for the second week in a row. As far as new releases go, The Addams Family had a strong opening at second place. But Gemini Man, starring Will Smith and Will Smith, had trouble drawing a crowd. The real winner of the weekend, though, was Bong Joon Ho‘s Parasite, which only opened in three theaters, but hauled in the largest per-theater average of the year.
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Gemini Man is a globetrotting 3D action movie with assassins, motorcycle chases, and that emphasizes the value of life, so it’s no surprise that it’s directed by Ang Lee. The visionary director behind Life of Pi and Brokeback Mountain once again pushes the envelope with his high-frame-rate and Will Smith-headlined cinematic experiment. Similar to many Ang Lee movies, Gemini Man has an identity crisis, repression, and father issues to go along with the popcorn entertainment, which, like his Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, is shot in 120 frames per second and 3D. This time around, the result is more immersive and tactile, less otherworldly and distancing.
It’s a new way of telling a story that, as Lee says, he’s just getting started with as he remains hopeful other filmmakers will join him in his pursuit of the sharpest image possible. 120 fps remains polarizing, but Lee remains assured he’s on the right path. Anytime an artist tries something new, it’s automatically going to distance some audiences, anyway. There are still kinks to be smoothed out and movie theaters have to catch up to Lee, but he’s also thinking about the long game: not just where the technology is now, but where it will go.
After over a decade of trying to interview him, we got 15 minutes with Lee, and although there’s some pressure to finally sit across from this filmmaking giant, when you walk in a room and are greeted by him, any nervousness dissipates fast. His calmness and modesty are impossible not to feel at ease around, but behind that calmness lies an intense desire to, as he told us, remain cutting edge.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Lorne Balfe, the composer responsible for the pulse-pounding score to Mission: Impossible – Fallout, is back with Gemini Man. Bafle’s Gemini Man score features the same type of propulsive, churning, tension-building sound so prevalent in Fallout, lending weight to Ang Lee‘s action thriller. We have an exclusive track from Loren Balfe’s Gemini Man soundtrack below.
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Two new wide-release movies are headed to theaters this weekend: Ang Lee’s Gemini Man, and the rather terrible-looking animated Addams Family movie. But it looks like the Clown Prince of Crime will continue to reign, as box office tracking indicates that Joker is expected to remain in first place. Not even two Will Smiths and cartoon Oscar Issac are enough to stop Joaquin Phoenix and his weird dance moves.
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