VFX Artists React to Blade: Trinity

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, the gang at Corridor Crew sit down to take a look at another batch of visual effects from Blade Trinity, Knowing and some major commercials from the Super Bowl. Plus, find out how Pokémon is dubbed from Japanese to English for American audiences, and watch a one hour studio executives roundtable discussion with the heads of Disney, Warner Bros., Universal and more. Read More »

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of 2009

The above graph is from ChartsBin, showing the top 10 most pirated movies of 2009. The list, which was collected by Torrent Freak from several sources, is pretty odd. It’s not surprising that big Hollywood blockbusters like Star Trek and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen topped the list, but who would have thought that a film like Guy Ritchie’s Rocknrolla would end up at #3?

Also surprising is that X-Men Origins: Wolverine ended up at at the bottom of the list, at #9, even though a workprint of the film infamously hit the internet a month before the theatrical release. Alex Proyas’ Knowing places #10, which is probably a good example of a movie that people had an interest in seeing (especially after some of the WTF buzz) but weren’t willing to pay for.

How do films end up on the internet? Free Love Forum has posted a faux behind the scenes documentary of the revolutionary new bootleg of the revolutionary new movie — James Cameron’s Avatar. Watch the video, embedded after the jump.

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Hollywood vs. New York: Four Decades of Destruction

Stay Puft New York City

Goodie Bag has created a fantastic video called “Hollywood vs. New York”, featuring four decades of celluloid New York annihilation distilled into one musical montage. Watch the destruction now after the jump.
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This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray 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 films 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.

Rent It

For my money, an interesting failure will always hold more value than a bland success. That’s why I’m recommending Knowing; not because it’s a good movie (it’s not), but because it’s ambitious, compelling, and occasionally thought-provoking, even if it never forms a fully satisfying, cohesive whole. A lot has been made out of the film’s religious themes, with debates arising over whether the film is actually a veiled propaganda piece in favor of Christianity, or alternatively, if it’s promoting science over religion. I believe neither of those is accurate; instead, the film is presenting its own hypothetical theory about the origins of our existence, combining elements of modern scientific theories and biblical symbolism as a way of showing that it is possible for both sides of the debate to coexist. The “disaster movie” premise is merely a base, used as a means to communicate and expand on these themes. Naturally, this irritated many viewers, since people don’t like paying for one thing and then getting something else entirely. It also doesn’t help that the film fails to explore those themes in the most coherent of ways. Regardless, I found myself elated to discover that the film was at least attempting to be something much more than your standard “disaster movie” fare. It still hits those beats, granted, but it’s everything else the film has to offer that’s kept me talking about it. Unfortunately, this also includes Nicolas Cage‘s hammy acting, which does a damn good job of holding the movie back and making sure it remains firmly in B-movie territory.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Audio commentary with director Alex Proyas, and two featurettes (“Knowing All: The Making of a Futuristic Thriller”, “Visions of the Apocalypse”).

Target Best Buy Fry’s
Amazon – $15.99

Target Best Buy Fry’s
$25.99 $24.99 $23.77
Amazon – $23.99

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Alex Proyas’ Knowing and Biblical Prophecy


Despite its flaws, Alex Proyas’ Knowing ended up being a fascinating film, with a cool sci-fi bent and some interesting ideas about faith. I was so taken aback by the film and its audacious ending that I held an impromptu /Filmcast, where we all tried to make sense of what the movie was all supposed to mean (and determine whether or not the film was actually any good).

/Filmcast listener Ned wrote in a detailed response to that podcast episode, in which he relates various elements of the film to Biblical prophecy. I don’t think I would make all the connections that he made, but I found his e-mail pretty thought-provoking nonetheless (especially from a Christian standpoint, as faith plays a huge part in the film). I’m republishing the e-mail here in its entirety, with his permission. If you ever have any interesting and in-depth interpretations of recent/classic films that you want to share, always feel free to e-mail me at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com. Who knows? Maybe it’ll end up on the site one day.

For obvious reasons, everything after the jump and the comments should be considered a SPOILER-FILLED zone. Continue at your own risk.

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knowing posterIn this bonus episode of the /Filmcast, Dave Chen, Peter Sciretta, and Adam Quigley discuss their thoughts on Alex Proyas’s ambitious new science fiction film, Knowing. Spoilers abound in this meandering, barely-coherent discussion! Special guest Russ Fischer joins us from CHUD. As always, if you have any feedback, feel free to e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993.

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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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Last week, we asked /Film readers to provide questions for a special question and answer blog with director Alex Proyas (Dark City, The Crow, I, Robot, Knowing). We sent Alex the submissions, and he has personally picked nine of the questions to respond to. Read the answers below.

1. TerrenceV: “Mr. Proyas when you are developing the visual style of your films with the various camera angles, framings, and lighting do you storyboard heavily with your cinematographer so that you reach your vision, or do you find that you improvise more? Are your visual choices pretty instinctual?”

I do storyboard, but not with my DP – these days I usually throw away the boards on the set and go for something more spontaneous. My choices are in fact based mostly on instinct – but every scene in a movie is different and requires a different approach so some are more structured than others.

2. JordanFRAV: “Alex, in one of your last posts, you spoke about the influence the film and the William Blatty novel ‘The Exorcist’ had on you as an aspiring film-maker, I was just wondering if you had considered creating a ‘supernatural horror’ or a film in the ‘horror’ genre in the foreseeable future?”

Yes I’d like to do a horror movie as many of my films have elements of “horror” in them. I’m working on a script based on a Heinlein story, THE UNPLEASANT PROFESSION OF JONATHAN HOAG, which I see as a horror movie.

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Box Office: Summit Scores a Nice Hit With Knowing


It was another good weekend for Summit Entertainment. The distributor behind last year’s meteoric hit Twilight has scored a solid hit with the Alex Proyas-directed Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage. Despite shaky word-of-mouth and negative reviews, the sci-fi thriller got a solid 9% bump on Saturday for a $9.7M second day, and it will likely finish its opening weekend with a possible $24.8M.

As a production company, Summit is responsible for some monster hits, including commercially and/or artistically successful films like Once (Oscar nominee for Best Picture), American Pie ($102..5M domestic), Memento (Oscar nominee for Best Original Screenplay: Chris Nolan), Mr. & Mrs. Smith ($186.3M domestic) and In the Valley of Ellah (Tommy Lee Jones nominated for Best Actor). But as a distributor, they got off to a slow start.

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Knowing – What Did You Think?


I just got home from seeing the Alex Proyas-directed sci-fi thriller Knowing. It seems like response to the movie is extremely mixed. Roger Ebert called the film one of “the best science-fiction films” he’s seen. Others reviewers have said that it is among the worst films of the year. I’m not going to write a full review because it could be seen as a conflict of interest since Alex was a guest blogger for the site, and my thoughts are pretty positive.

It’s definitely not perfect. The acting is over-the-top across the board, not just Cage. Some of the dialogue is laughable, and some of the computer generated effects look rushed. I can honestly understand why someone would hate this movie, especially the last third of it. But for me, the film presents some very interesting ideas having to do with fate and chaos, religion and science, symbolic visuals, three kick-ass action set-pieces, and one of the most ambitious endings I’ve ever seen. I really dug the film a lot despite it’s flaws. The film goes to places you would never expect.

And that is why I’m writing this call for reader discussion. I want to know what you thought of the film, or more specifically the film’s ending. If you haven’t seen the film, do not read the comments, because it is bound to be filled with spoilers. I’m not looking for “It sucked” or “loved it” responses. I want to hear what you thought, and why.