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Total Recall Remake & The 5 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012

With just a couple of months left in 2011, moviegoers are already looking toward 2012. And why not? 2012 looks to be a banner year for big-screen blockbusters. Not only do superhero fans have The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man to look forward to, but sci-fi fans are anticipating the remake of an Arnold Schwarzenegger classic too.

1. The Avengers (May 4, 2012)

Featuring a comic-book store full of A-list actors, fans are counting down the days until The Avengers premieres.

What do you get when you take the world’s hottest superheroes and assemble them for a film? The Avengers, of course! This spring, Marvel Studios will release a superhero action flick that has been in development for years.

Written and directed by Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), The Avengers will bring together the superhero talents of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner),  and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) as agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

On the set of The Avengers with Robert Downey Jr., Joss Whedon, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans.

The superheroes are assembled to defeat the extraterrestrial invaders led by the super villian Loki, who has come to earth to destory it. The first film to be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, The Avengers is the culmination of years of groundwork by Marvel Studios. Even the actors know the importance of the film in the Marvel movie mythos and stepped up their game too: Actor Jeremy Renner took archery lessons for his role, while actor Chris Hemsworth maintained his two-chickens-a-day diet for his Thor psychic.

Shot in locations around the country like Albuquerque, New Mexico, Cleveland, Ohio, and New York City, the film promises to blow audiences out of their seats. Need more proof? Check out the official Avengers movie trailer.

2. The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3, 2012)

If  The Avengers doesn’t satisfy your appetite for Marvel superheroes, The Amazing Spider-Man will.

Spider-Man is no stranger to movie screens, especially after a trio of well-reviewed, record-breaking, big-budget action flicks, which starred Tobey Maguire as the world’s greatest swinger. Now Sony, the studio behind Spidey, are hoping to reboot it for a whole new generation.

The Amazing Spider-Man stars Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and this time around Marc Webb is directing the film. The rest of the cast includes Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Sally Field as Aunt May and Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben.

Garfield, who made an appearance in costume at Comic-Con 2011, is a longtime fan of the comic book; his turn as the web slinger is hotly anticipated by not only screaming 16-year-old girls but by longtime Spider-Man fanboys. Mainly because, like The Avengers, this film will return to the roots of our favorite web-head and will focus more on Parker’s high school experience. Accordingly, the grumpy Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson will not appear in the new movie.

Someone who will be making an appearance, is Marvel Comics genius Stan Lee, who probably created (or co-created) more big-name superheroes than any other comics giant. SPOILER ALERT: “Stan the Man” will have a cameo in the new film as a librarian plugged in to his earbuds and is oblivious to a battle between Spider-Man and arch foe, The Lizard. The Amazing Spider-Man will be released in 3D and IMAX 3D.

3. Total Recall (August 3, 2012)

Collin Farrell takes over Arnold Schwarzenegger’s role in the new Total Recall.

Easily the most anticipated sci-fi flick of 2012, the much-rumored remake of the 1990 sci-fi/thriller Total Recall casts Colin Farrell in the role of Douglas Quaid, originally played by Arnold Schwarzenneger.

Not a lot of info has been released about the film, but that still hasn’t stopped fans from speculating about why Ethan Hawke makes a cameo. The original film was well ahead of it’s time, from full-body X-ray video machines to wall-sized televisions; the technology alone made it a cult classic. The latest version will continue that trend, with a futuristic look at a nation-state called New Shanghai. The film also stars Bryan (Breaking Bad) Cranston, Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale.

On location in Toronto, Canada, this futuristic police cruiser gets a little help chasing down Quaid. 

What won’t be appearing in the new version, which will be directed by Len Wiseman, is the planet Mars, which was the main location of the original movie. Instead, this Recall will take place on earth in nation-states called “Euromerica” and “New Shanghai.” As before, the plot will involve a factory drone (Farrell) who comes to believe that he’s being used as a spy, although at this point we don’t know much more than that.

4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 14, 2012)

Martin Freeman plays Bilbo Baggins in the prequel to The Lord of The Rings.

It’s time to return to Middle Earth with director Peter Jackson and the characters you fell in love with in The Lord of the Rings. Hobbit Bilbo Baggins must journey to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim a treasure taken by the dragon Smaug. Bilbo is joined by a group of dwarves, while appearances by new/old friends, Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), Frodo (Elijah Wood), and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) will keep fans riveted to the screen.

The film itself is eagerly awaited for several reasons, in part because it was in limbo while producer Peter Jackson and the rights were sorted out in a high-profile Hollywood drama. Director Guillermo del Toro (HellBoy, Pan’s Labyrinth) will helm the film.

5. The Dark Knight Rises (July 20, 2012)

Batman takes on Bane in the latest Dark Knight saga.

Following hot on Spider-Man’s heels in July is Batman – that is, Christopher Nolan’s version of the caped crusader. In what many have said may be the final chapter in Nolan’s Batman series, Batman takes on Bane, another comic-based villain.

With an estimated $250 million budget, The Dark Knight Rises is rumored to be best of the bunch. Two new characters are introduced: Anne Hathaway plays Catwoman, Tom Hardy plays the unstoppable Bane, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays John Blake. The formula must be working, because this is the first Batman trilogy to have the same director and actor (Nolan and Bale, respectively).

Making Movies Super
What other movies can we look forward to in 2012? How about a Star Trek sequel, the 23rd James Bond film and Men in Black 3? Movies are still greatest America’s cultural export, and next year’s crop of blockbusters reflect how important digital filmmaking techniques have become to modern cinema. Learning to use powerful editing software such as Apple’s Final Cut Pro is key to getting a foot in the door at today’s hottest film studios. Creating comic book characters isn’t easy either, and neither is digital filmmaking, but the crop of 2012 films listed here seem ready to take on the challenge. What do you think? Are you looking forward to these films?


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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

The Best Beatle Movies & DVDs

Music fans regularly discuss The Beatles and their legacy. They were – and many would argue, still are – the most-beloved pop/rock music group in history. For some fans, their favorite Beatle album is Abbey Road. For others, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club and Revolver get high praise.

Within months of The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, the group was charting four songs in the Top Ten.

Still others debate what was The Beatles’ best performance or best music video, or what was their best film. The outstanding catalog of work (The Beatles also made five movies) makes it hard to pick a single song or movie, or DVD, but since we’re professed Beatlemaniacs we thought we’d try anyway:

Top Three Beatle DVD’s
The best Beatle DVDs cover the initial rush of Beatlemania that swept over America in early 1964. While it may seem strange to focus on one era, considering their massive catalog, there is a valid reason: Later-period Beatle movies were mostly bizarre comedies and psychedelic romps that were often difficult to follow. Still, each Beatles video cited here captures the infectious energy the band originally generated, while each is from a different cinematic angle:

1. The Four Complete Historic Ed Sullivan Shows Featuring The Beatles (1964)
Why It Tops The List: The Beatles’ Ed Sullivan performance is one of the most famous television broadcasts of all time.

The Beatles share a candid moment with host Ed Sullivan.

If you really want to witness how The Beatles upended American entertainment, you need to watch the original Ed Sullivan shows, which made the band an international phenomenon. On this two-disc collection, not only do you get The Beatles in all their mop-top glory (with the most appreciative studio audience in broadcast history), but you also see the “normal” TV acts that usually populated American variety television…an assortment of comics, singers, jugglers, impressionists, etc. In addition, you even get some of the original network TV commercials that ran during the original historic broadcasts. This is living history.

2. The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit (1990)
Why It Tops The List: This behind-the-scenes documentary captures the moment when pop culture took over not only America, but the world

In this AP Photo, The Beatles meet reporters at Kennedy Airport in New York City on February 7, 1964, after their arrival from London for their first American tour.  The band (from left to right): Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon.

NYC erupted when the Fab Four landed at JFK Airport. This movie captures that moment in a fascinating documentary. The filmmaking Maysles brothers had unprecedented access to the band members, following them around as they remained shut-ins at their hotel, which was then under siege by thousands of crazed teens screaming as if they were being boiled alive. Best moments: The boys break free and head to a dance club where they shake and shimmy with the rest of the crowd: “There’s the Peppermint Lounge crammed to the limit with continental hipsters and transistor sisters all razor-cut and Fabu-lashed, moving and grooving to the Push and Shake,” wrote critic Ronn Spencer.

3. A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Why It Tops The List: This crazy, backstage comedy featuring the antics of the Fab Four is considered a cinematic classic.

Paul, Ringo, John and George run from frantic fans. The chase was real and director Richard Lester used it in the amazing opening of A Hard Day’s Night, which perfectly captured all the energy, the fun and the excitement. This was Beatlemania.

Made quickly and with tremendous energy – as Beatlemania was still very much happening - A Hard Day’s Night follows the band on tour on England, in much the same sense as The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit follows the group around New York. Add bright, punchy jokes, some of the greatest tunes in Rock ‘n’ Roll history, and a ridiculous sub-plot of Paul watching over his mischievous grandfather, and you’ve got A Hard Day’s Night. Now considered one of the inspirations for modern music videos, director Richard Lester’s quick cutting, visual wit and marriage of image and sound make A Hard Day’s Night play fresh even now, almost as if it was made just a few weeks ago.

The Rest of The Beatles on DVD
From this point forward, reviewing the rest of the Beatle movies requires some degree of patience. The plot lines get weirder, the visuals become more psychedelic (as was all the rage back then) and the stories become harder to follow. These films also take place as the band is becoming more of an introverted studio band and less of a touring group. Consequently, gone (for the most part) are the lovable, cheerful mop-tops who charmed the world just a few years before.

Help! (1965)
Why Watch It: For the songs, The Beatles and John Lennon’s glasses.

The Beatles in Help! on location in Austria.

Primarily a secret-agent spoof (remember, the film was made in James Bond’s heyday), Help! has some great numbers in it (like the title track and “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,”). It also has a plot that’s more tangled than a game of Twister, but it features some interesting bits of Beatles trivia, including the first appearance of John Lennon on film wearing his trademark round granny glasses. (Recommended, with Reservations)

Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
Why Watch It: There are some great songs, but with a confusing and psychedelic plot, it’s a movie only a Beatlemaniac could love.

John Lennon as a spaghetti-shoveling waiter is one of the highlights – and low lights – of Magical Mystery Tour.

The soundtrack ain’t bad, but the plot (featuring a bus tour of oddball characters and Beatles) was (and maybe still is) too far out for public consumption. Some of the images—such as John Lennon costumed as a mustachioed waiter serving spaghetti literally by the shovelful—are amazing, but often too surreal. This film was one of the few Beatles projects that bombed with both critics and fans. (Not Recommended)

Yellow Submarine (1968)
Why Watch It: It’s an animated classic. Although sadly, currently it’s out of print and unavailable.

John, George, Paul and Ringo’s animated counterparts. The band didn’t even lend their voices to the characters. 

One film later, The Beatles returned to form with this charming animated feature. Yellow Submarine is an eye-popping presentation that took existing Beatle themes (such as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the title track) and spun them into a wondrous, pop-art excursion. The film is still as entertaining as it is colorful and Yellow Submarine is being remade by Robert Zemeckis as a 3D computer-animated release. (Highly Recommended)

Let It Be (1970)
Why Watch It: It showcases The Beatles’ last public performance and their squabbles, which would ultimately permanently separate the band. Also, currently out of print.

The decision to release Let It Be as a film was based on financial reasons. The Beatles spent so much money on the project that their accountants informed the band they couldn’t afford to bury it, as much as the Beatles wanted to.

The Beatles were always light years ahead of the contemporary culture; here the band anticipates today’s reality TV obsession by creating the first portrait of a four-way divorce ever filmed. Let It Be is supposed to capture the taping of the next-to-last studio album, and it does that. But it also recorded all the ugly in-fighting that was taking place within the band as it started heading toward complete meltdown. You’ll hear great songs if you can stand wading through all this painful bitterness, especially the impromptu rooftop jam that would mark the group’s last public performance. (Highly Recommended)

The Beatles Anthology (1995)
Why Watch It: It’s the comprehensive and final word on all things Beatle.

The Beatles through the years.

There is one mega-DVD package to rule them all. The Beatles Anthology was made with the extensive cooperation and many interviews with the three remaining Beatles of the time – Paul, George and Ringo. It’s a five-disc documentary that starts at the very beginning, back when the four lads were starting out. From the band’s Liverpool origins, to its rugged apprenticeship in Hamburg, to the extraordinary early recordings, to worldwide celebrity and critical acclaim, all of the important themes are covered in depth. For dedicated Beatle fans who want a good ten-hour overview of the world’s top pop band.  (Highly Recommended)

Following in The Beatles’ Footsteps
The Beatles’ creativity knew no bounds. Not only did they dominate and revolutionize popular music, they also triumphed in the world of film. In addition, they were visionary in their approach to blending the two.

Even in later years, The Beatles still championed the use of new technology. 

Music and film have been fused together for years now and both media are constantly overlapping in today’s global entertainment marketplace. If the Beatles were still around today, you’d see them using some the technological tools now available to create powerful music and films. Thankfully, unlike the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, technology is considerably more accessible and cheaper. Today all you need is a computer and a little direction to follow in The Beatles’ footsteps.

For teens and kids, computer summer camps like Digital Media Academy can teach both music production and filmmaking. In some cases, music and filmmaking summer camps and programs are combined for the best of both worlds. The Beatles would certainly approve.


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments