(Welcome to Team Leaders, a series where we explore how the directors of the Mission: Impossible movies used this franchise as a canvas to explore their pet themes and show off their unique sensibilities. In this edition: Brad Bird brings his animated sensibilities to Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.)
For Brad Bird, there’s no difference between helming animation and live-action. A film is a film, and a director is a director, regardless of the visual mode an artist is operating within.
Handpicked by Tom Cruise (who loved Bird’s work on The Incredibles [‘04]) and longtime compadre J.J. Abrams* – thus solidifying Bad Robot’s ongoing influence on the tentpole franchise – the Simpsons and Iron Giant (’99) architect viewed Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol as an opportunity to branch out and diversify his already impressive filmography; not as some half-assed, insulting means of gaining the acceptance of his peers, the press, or viewers (as animation has long been relegated to being “for kids”).
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In honor of John Wick: Chapter 2, which hits theaters this week, we are taking a look at our favorite action scenes from movies and television history. But this isn’t just about us, it’s also about you. What did we get right? What did we get wrong? What is your favorite action scene? Leave your picks in the comments below!
/Answers is a weekly feature where all of the /Film writers and podcasters attempt to answer a pop culture related question. Last week, in honor of the Super Bowl, we answered: “What is your favorite sports movie?”
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There are plenty of times movies aren’t shot on location in the actual city in which they take place. Sometimes it’s just cheaper and easier to have one city pretend to be New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago rather than dealing with all the costs and logistics of actually filming there. And if the filmmakers have done a good job, then you won’t know the difference.
However, for those who live in the Canadian city of Vancouver, it’s not hard to tell when Hollywood has turned your hometown into some other location. And as you see in this video detailing some of the movies shot in Vancouver, sometimes it’s not even another North American location that Vancouver has been turned into on film. Read More »
Brian De Palma‘s first Mission: Impossible film wasn’t packed with action setpieces — there are only three, really, but those three are all top-tier action filmmaking, and one of those three defined the series for years to come. In the two decades since, the series has been tackled by a variety of directors — John Woo, J.J. Abrams, Brad Bird, and now Christopher McQuarrie — each of whom bring a slightly different balance of action and espionage to their respective mix.
Paramount in all the best Mission Impossible setpieces, however, is the physicality of Tom Cruise (and, at times, his co-stars) and a direct simplicity that lets Cruise and many stunt performers shine. We’ve examined the major action concepts in the five films in the series to find the best Mission Impossible action scenes and show-off setpieces. (And, OK, we’ve highlighted a couple of the worst, too.)
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Posted on Thursday, December 27th, 2012 by Angie Han
Next to the $1B+ grosses for The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, Project X‘s respectable $100M worldwide take seems like spare change. But there is one arena in which the Todd Phillips-produced raunchfest is king: illegal downloads.
Project X has emerged as the single most pirated film of 2012 — as well as the lowest grossing of the top 10, which also includes both of the aforementioned box office smashes. Read the full list after the jump.
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Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 by Angie Han
Watch enough movies, and you’ll find that you occasionally walk out of the theater sometimes with the vaguely disappointing feeling that you’ve just shelled out $14 to see a movie you’re already seen before. Sometimes, it’s no surprise that a film looks derivative — did anyone really expect Underworld: Awakening to wow us with its originality, for example? — but even great movies fall prey to old habits sometimes. The Avengers was exhilarating, but Lord knows we’ve seen the dear old Big Apple demolished more than a few times before, and often in very similar ways at that.
The Funny or Die folks point out the most familiar repeating shots and motifs in a video titled “Every 3D Movie is the Same.” Unfortunately, it seems their theoretical fact-checkers were dozing on the job, since a handful of the movies they cite were not, in fact, released in 3D. But even so, their point stands. Perhaps they should’ve just retitled it “Every Studio Action Movie is the Same”? Watch it after the jump.
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I have yet to get the Blu-ray release of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (it comes out on April 17th, available for preorder for 51% off on Amazon) but it appears that director Brad Bird decided to not include the expanded IMAX footage in the home video transfer.
For those of you who didn’t know, the IMAX release of this film (and other films like the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises) included footage shot with on 70 mm IMAX film, 15 perforations per frame. The quality of those sequences, almost a half hour of the total film, is amazingly vivid.And because they were shot on IMAX cameras, those segments filled up the whole IMAX screen a 1.44:1 aspect ratio (or just a little wider than the old standard definition/full frame square).
The blu-ray releases of The Dark Knight, Tron: Legacy and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen have featured expanded aspect ratios in the IMAX sequences — which means that the aspect ratio changes from the widescreen 2:35:1 to fit your entire 16:9 television during the IMAX shot sequences. I’ve always enjoyed that we get to see a little bit more of these sequences. Bird decided against this with the home video release of MI4, sticking with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio for the entire film.
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Odds are if you visited a movie theater recently, you might have been there to see Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol or War Horse. The former has been deservedly sitting atop the box office charts since its release and the latter is the latest, tear-jerker live-action drama from one of our most beloved filmmakers, Steven Spielberg. And while the fact they’re both currently playing in theaters is more or less the only thing the films have in common, both are undoubtedly improved by their sound and score.
John Williams‘ score to War Horse is one of his best in many years. It perfectly compliments the sweeping story of how a single animal can bring out the best in people at the worst of times. With Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, director Brad Bird and his team use not only Michael Giacchino‘s score, but a steady barrage of sound, to amp up the drama surrounding Ethan Hunt and his disavowed IMF agents.
After the jump, watch in-depth videos and interviews regarding the sound and music from both Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Steven Spielberg’s War Horse. Read More »
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Posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 by David Chen
End-of-year list-making is typically a daunting, tricky, and arbitrary task. At its best, it’s a way to express ideas and share interesting finds. At its worst, it’s a shouting match about WHY DIDN’T YOU PICK THE EXACT FILMS I LIKE?
In 2011, I probably saw around 70-80 new release films in theaters. I’m certain that these films are different than the ones you saw and I’m equally certain that I missed a ton of great titles. Nonetheless, after the jump, you’ll find my 10 favorite films of 2011. I hope you’ll take it as the beginning of a conversation, as opposed to the end. And if I chose a film that you didn’t, then all the better! I look forward to reading your picks in the comments below.
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Posted on Friday, December 23rd, 2011 by Angie Han
We’ve got news for you on several sequels today, some more realistic than others. On the “coming soon to a theater near you” end, there’s a new synopsis for G.I. Joe: Retaliation; meanwhile, projects like Gremlins 3 and Pineapple Express 2 have been rumored for ages but as far as we can tell they’re still just a twinkle in some studio exec’s eye. After the jump:
- Warner Bros. registers domains for Green Lantern 2 and Gremlins 3
- Seth Rogen discusses the possibility of a Pineapple Express sequel
- G.I. Joe: Retaliation gets an official synopsis
- Paramount moves forward on a Mission: Impossible sequel and Top Gun 2
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